“Perhaps neither pathology nor psychology can provide a satisfactory explanation for why an ageing billionaire would spend his twilight years seeking to terrorise members of his own family.”
Those are the words of John Da Grosa Smith, the Atlanta lawyer representing Helga Glock in a $500m (£311m) lawsuit against her ex-husband, Gaston Glock Senior.
As lawsuits go, this one has everything. Her gripe? Oh, just that the founder of one of the largest gun companies in the world has been involved in “a multiple-decade, virtually worldwide, continuing racketeering scheme”.
But that’s just the half of it. Helga’s 350-page complaint accuses her ex-husband (together with four of his business associates and 13 separate companies) of “hundreds of violations of the Federal mail, wire fraud, national stolen property, and money laundering statutes”. Furthermore, she compares him to King Lear in the treatment of his immediate family, who, it is alleged, he froze out of their inheritance, syphoning money out of the company books so that he could spend it on strippers and extravagant gifts for his new wife, including $15m (£9m) on a horse, an Olympic showjumper called London (making it one of the most expensive horses in history).
The Glocks married in 1958, co-founded the gun business in 1963 and won a lucrative contract with the Austrian military and police in 1982 to replace their standard-issue firearm. So far, so dreamy. But since they divorced acrimoniously in 2011, their lives have begun to echo one of the less believable plotlines of Dallas.
Shortly afterwards, Gaston married Katrin Tschikof, 50 years his junior. Tschikof was a nurse who had treated Gaston following a stroke in 2008. By the time of the divorce, Gaston had already locked Helga out of the family mansion and sacked their three children (Brigitte, Gaston Jr and Robert) from the family business.
You knew the Glock name already, of course. Oh, you did: as in the Glock 17, one of the most popular handguns in the world. As well as being the firearm of choice for the military and police in his native Austria, Glock’s invention is also favoured by 65% of law enforcement agencies in the United States. And we don’t need to tell you about how popular the militarisation of the police in the US has been recently, in the wake of the events in Ferguson, Missouri.
When you think of it, the entire sorry affair could almost be a parable for how greed and profit has slowly eaten away at the heart of law enforcement in America. Then again, it might just be that a very rich man has behaved appallingly to his own family.
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