Bankrupt Swiss tycoon jailed for seven years
The canton of Zurich’s top court on Wednesday sentenced Swiss businessman Rolf Erb to seven years in prison for fraud, multiple forgeries and harming creditors.
The decision marked a reduction in the eight-year term initially handed down by a lower court in March 2012, which Erb appealed, the SDA news agency reported.
The 62-year-old former CEO of the Erb Group was convicted of doctoring the balance sheets of the family-owned Winterthur company in order to get additional bank loans.
He also transferred his fortune to his twin sons in order to evade creditors.
Erb denied all the allegations in a September 2013 trial when he blamed his father, Hugo, for controlling the company up to his death at the age of 85 in 2003.
The company quickly went into bankruptcy after the elder man’s death, with 2.5 billion francs’ worth of debts, making it the biggest business failure in Swiss history after the bankruptcy of Swissair in 2002.
The Zurich court ordered the seizure of real estate assets held by Rolf Erb, including the Eugensberg chateau in Salenstein in the canton of Thgurgau, as well as a collection of vintage cars and other valuables, SDA said.
These seized assets will be used to pay creditors, the news agency indicated.
The Erb Group was founded in 1920 by Erb’s grandfather who opened a car repair shop in Töss in the canton of Zurich.
When it went bankrupt, the conglomerate was organized into four holding companies which owned 82 firms and employed 4,900 people, including 2,900 in Switzerland.