Fraud case Salamander and New Haven

Misappropriation of funds, commercial fraud, embezzlement and money laundering as well as more than 20 million francs in damages - these are the results and the remains of the Liechtenstein fraud case involving the trustee Mario Staggl.


Misappropriation of funds, commercial fraud, embezzlement and money laundering as well as more than 20 million francs in damages - these are the results and the remains of the Liechtenstein fraud case involving the trustee Mario Staggl.


Salamander Treuhand AG is the name of the trust company managed by Mario Staggl in Zurich. New Haven Treuhandgesellschaft AG he called his Liechtenstein trust company. However, both companies ultimately served him only for illegal purposes. For many years, Staggl used client funds, which were intended for administration in both companies, for his private luxury life.


Remarkably, this was not the first time that Mario Staggl had a negative image with Salamander and New Haven. Especially in Switzerland, the UBS tax scandal surrounding - the later whistleblower - Bradley Birkenfeld in the USA is still well remembered in the financial world. In summary, the American criminal proceedings concerned the question of whether the major bank UBS or only the banker Birkenfeld was actively involved in the tax evasion of billionaire Igor Olenicoff. The US Federal Prosecutor's Office accused not only Birkenfeld but also Mario Staggl of having recommended that tax evader Olenicoff transfer his assets to Liechtenstein in order to benefit from banking secrecy. Mario Staggl apparently supported Birkenfeld in setting up sham structures and mailbox companies for Olenicoff to hide his assets from the American tax authorities.


In the New Haven fraud case, which has meanwhile been legally decided, Mario Staggl transferred millions of dollars to his private asset structures and accounts without the knowledge of his clients. Similar to the fraud case of Harry Gstöhl, Staggl enjoyed the full confidence of his clients and thus had almost unlimited control over their assets. He even went so far as to secure his own loans with securities accounts of his clients.


With the assets of his clients, Staggl afforded himself a luxurious private life with sports cars, numerous vacation properties and even his own trendy bar in Vaduz, whose bills were partly paid directly from the trust assets. As a dazzling figure, the trustee lived a carefree life in Liechtenstein until the fraud scandal was uncovered by an advertisement from a former employee.


Comparable to other cases of fraud, this was the beginning of a long and costly search for the embezzled assets for the injured parties. Numerous assets were transferred from Staggl to a Liechtenstein foundation, which made it considerably more difficult for its creditors and the criminal prosecution authorities to gain access.