Judge dismisses suit accusing Glock founder of racketeering

AP News
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Posted: Mar 28, 2017 4:10 PM

ATLANTA (AP) — A federal judge in Atlanta has dismissed a lawsuit accusing the founder of the company that makes Glock pistols of conspiring to steal millions from his ex-wife.

More than 350 pages long, the suit initially filed by Helga Glock in October 2014 included salacious allegations and drew unflattering comparisons between Gaston Glock and Shakespeare's King Lear.

It accused Gaston Glock, his associates and related companies of participating in a decades-long, worldwide racketeering scheme to take money from Helga Glock through improper royalty payments, laundering money through fraudulent billing companies, and sham lease and loan agreements.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash wrote in an order last week that Helga Glock, an Austrian citizen and resident, didn't suffer harm to her business or property in the U.S., meaning she can't bring a racketeering claim here.

"We respectfully disagree with the trial court's ruling," John Da Grosa Smith, an attorney for Helga Glock, wrote in an email Tuesday. He added that they intend to appeal to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Lawyers for Gaston Glock, who also lives in Austria, did not immediately respond to an email Tuesday seeking comment on the ruling. They have previously said in court filings that Helga Glock lacked standing to bring the complaint.

The lawsuit sought damages of approximately $500 million and asked a judge to remove Gaston Glock and others from their roles in the company, reorganize the companies owned by Glock and restore a larger ownership interest for Helga Glock.

Helga and Gaston Glock started a company in 1963 that eventually became a gun manufacturer called Glock Ges.m.b.H. in 1983, and two years later Gaston Glock established a U.S. subsidiary in Smyrna, just outside Atlanta, according to the lawsuit. That U.S. subsidiary quickly became a major economic driver for the company as its pistols became popular among law enforcement officers and civilians alike.

Gaston Glock and his associates set up a network of sham companies around the world to hide money from Helga Glock, his wife and business partner, and then demanded trust and used intimidation to avoid her questions, the lawsuit said.

He created foundations and convinced her and their children to contribute their assets and waive inheritance rights, ostensibly to benefit them and protect the family's control of the company, the lawsuit said.

After the pair divorced in 2011, Gaston Glock removed his wife and three adult children as beneficiaries of the foundations and said they and their descendants could not have any further association with the company, the lawsuit said.

Glock's actions toward his family "resemble the senseless and self-destructive rage of Shakespeare's King Lear, when he foolishly mistreats a loyal but candid daughter, Cordelia, in favor of cunning and ruthless flatterers," the lawsuit said. "Perhaps neither pathology nor psychology can provide a satisfactory explanation for why an aging billionaire would spend his twilight years seeking to terrorize members of his own family."