Werner K. Rey, first celebrated as a financial genius, fled to the Bahamas after the collapse of his corporate empire, was arrested in 1996 and extradited to Switzerland in 1998, and was finally convicted by the Swiss Federal Court of fraud, forgery of documents and fraudulent bankruptcy. This is one of the most spectacular cases of Swiss economic crime.
Werner K. Rey became known as a financier through his investment and the sale of C.F. Bally AG, where he made a profit of CHF 30 million. He subsequently built his corporate empire with his Omni Holding AG, which held various investments in companies from various industries. Werner K. Rey's corporate empire included the shoe company Bally, the industrial giant Oerlikon, the inspection company Inspectorate, the conglomerate Harpener, the job agency Aida, the machine group Sulzer, the metalworks Selve, the airline Air Europe and various media companies.
"The damage caused by Werner K. Rey amounted to two to three billion Swiss francs, of which not much remained."
The enormous corporate empire, worth several billion Swiss francs, finally collapsed in 1990 and went bankrupt in the spring of 1991. The damage caused by Werner K. Rey amounted to two to three billion Swiss francs, of which not much remained. This was also because Werner K. Rey had reduced his private assets at the expense of his creditors.
Creditors of Werner K. Rey's holding company were 74 banks, pension funds, companies and several hundred small investors who had purchased bonds. From the bankruptcy estate, the creditors received back in several tranches about CHF 186.3 million and thus a total of 11.6% of their money. CHF 1.48 billion remained uncovered in the bankruptcy, although this represents only part of the loss.
It still owes compensation to various investors, although most of the claims are probably time-barred. The Bernese authorities also remained liable for legal costs of CHF 4.3 million.