Udo Proksch (May 29, 1934 in Rostock, Germany – June 27, 2001 in Graz, Austria) was an Austrian businessman and industrialist. In 1991, he was convicted of the murder of six people as part of a major insurance fraud. Proksch died in prison.
|Died||June 27, 2001 67) (aged|
|Resting place||Heiligenstädter Friedhof, Döbling, Vienna|
|Occupation||Businessperson, designer, restaurateur|
|Known for||planting a time bomb on the freighter Lucona in 1977 as part of an insurance fraud|
|Motive||financial profit, monetary gain|
|Conviction(s)||six counts of murder (March 11, 1991)|
|Criminal charge||six counts of murder|
|Partner(s)||several highranking politicians who were shareholders in Proksch's company|
Time at large
|more than a year|
|Date||January 23, 1977|
|October 2, 1989|
|Imprisoned at||Graz-Karlau Prison|
In 1977, the ship Lucona sank in the Indian Ocean, after an explosion, killing six people. Proksch, the owner of the cargo, also then owner of famous Viennese confectioners' Demel, claimed US$20 million from his insurance company, saying that the ship was carrying expensive uranium mining equipment. Fraud was suspected; but investigations were obstructed by powerful Austrian politicians who were friends of Proksch.
In 1988, Proksch fled to the Philippines after Hans Pretterebner published a book about the scandal.
In 1989, he returned to Vienna, incognito, but was recognized and arrested. In 1990, Lucona was located by American shipwreck hunter David Mearns, revealing that the ship had been sunk by a time bomb.
On March 11, 1991, Proksch was sentenced to 20 years in prison. A year later, the sentence was increased to a lifelong term in prison. Several ex-Ministers were also eventually convicted over their involvement. The ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs was sentenced for forging documents authenticating the cargo. Two other Ministers were dismissed for obstructing the investigations. The Minister of Defense Karl Lütgendorf, a shareholder in the Proksch firm, had given permission to deliver explosives to sabotage the ship and committed suicide when that became clear.
Proksch died on June 27, 2001, during heart surgery.
Works about Proksch and the Lucona case
- 1988: Hans Pretterebner publishes a book about the Lucona case, Der Fall Lucona.
- 1993: A film about the Lucona case (starring David Suchet) is released.
- 2004: The art group monochrom stages Udo 77, a musical about the life of Udo Proksch.
- 2010: A documentary about Proksch, entitled Udo Proksch: Out of Control and directed by Robert Dornhelm is released.
Notes and references
- Longworth, R. C. (March 15, 1989). "The Lucona Affair – The Cafe Czar Who Left A Cloud of Corruption in Decadent Old Vienna". Chicago Tribune. Chicago. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
- Schödel, Helmut (April 26, 1996). "Ein Besuch bei Udo Proksch, Österreichs prominentestem Häftling". Die Zeit (in German). Hamburg. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
- Brey, Thomas (June 28, 2001). "Udo Proksch: Österreichs Paradehäftling ist tot". Der Spiegel (in German). Hamburg. Retrieved March 14, 2015.