Was the missing Tengelmann billionaire Haub a Russian spy?

Karl-Erivan Haub disappeared in April 2018 without a trace in the Alps

picture alliance / dpa | Roland incense

Karl-Erivan Haub is not the only extreme athlete who has disappeared in the Swiss Alps. But “Charlie”, as he was often called, is the richest of them. And so, three years after his disappearance, there is still an investigation into what really happened on that April day on the Klein Matterhorn. According to information from, Tengelmann boss Christian Haub is supporting extensive private investigations aimed at solving the mystery surrounding his brother.

While the helicopters were still circling over the ski area with thermal imaging cameras in search of Karl-Erivan Haub (KEH), a team of experts around the company’s head of security began to collect astonishing information. There is the suspicious couple who sat in the lobby of the hotel where Karl-Erivan Haub stayed while they were searching for the rescue. There is the inexplicable instruction from Haub to the pilot of a private jet to fly to the Swiss ski area at short notice, even though the weather there was bad. There are previously unknown phone calls that KEH made the day before his disappearance. And there are these many traces that lead to a double life in Russia.

According to Tengelmann reports, there are links between family members and the FSB

The confidential reports from Tengelmann Security, in which the pieces of the puzzle were put together, must have worried Christian Haub. Using numerous circumstantial evidence and statements from third parties, the investigators drew the conclusion that Karl-Erivan Haub should have had connections with the Russian secret service. According to the documents, his father Erivan is said to have recruited close business partners for the FSB. Confidants of the Haub family, however, consider the latter to be unlikely, since Erivan was a big America fan and friend of the former Pepsi boss Donald Kendall, who had maintained good contacts with the CIA for years.

None of this can be read in the files of the criminal investigation department. Christian Haub is also said not to have taken into account the monstrous theories of his experts for a long time. Since he took over the helm at Tengelmann, he has rather been concerned with the dispute with Katrin Haub, KEH’s wife and current carer in absence. Christian wants to buy the shares from his brother and his children. After years of struggle, the only thing that matters is the price.

After a presentation by the managing director of Tengelmann Sicherheit und Service GmbH at the end of last year, the CEO gave the green light for further research in Russia. This costly job, sometimes involving intelligence-gathering methods, gives the impression that parts of the Tengelmann clan really think anything is possible. On request, Christian Haub’s lawyer, Prof. Mark Binz, declined to comment.

The secret lover, “Scarface” and a bank manager close to Putin

In fact, the clues in the Tengelmann files fire far-reaching fantasies: According to this, KEH had a close relationship with the Russian, Veronika E. For many years, further investigations would have shown that the businesswoman apparently had an intelligence training and was used as a “decoy” . The Russian passport with the hood was able to enter and leave the country inconspicuously to meet E., allegedly organized by the Russian mafia, according to the research. With the help of telecommunications data, Tengelmann Security was able to determine, according to information from, that KEH had spoken to Veronika E. for 30 minutes the day before his disappearance. 24 hours later, she is said to have gone into hiding with her mother. When detectives were on the heels of Veronika E. on behalf of Tengelmann, the investigators reportedly received threats in a hotel in St. Petersburg.

Another report on Tengelmann’s activities in Russia also mentions the name Sergey Grishin. He appeared as a business partner in property deals for Plus branches between Moscow and St. Petersburg around 2010. In the joint venture, a double-digit million amount from the German retail group disappeared without a trace. Coincidence or not: At the same time, Grishin, known as “Scareface”, as the head of Rosevrobank at the time, was at the center of a billion-dollar money laundering scandal, in which, according to “The Guardian”, Russian secret service funds were also smuggled abroad. According to research, the Tengelmann billionaire also called Grishin for an hour the day before he disappeared. What the two talked about is not known. Grishin most recently appeared in mid-2020 when he sold his Californian villa “Chateau of Riven Rock”, which he had acquired in 2009 for around 25 million dollars, to Prince Harry and his wife Meghan for almost 15 million dollars.

KEH has been warned about the Russian mafia in the past

Tengelmann consultants use diagrams to create entanglements between Karl-Erivan Haub, the Russian Orthodox Church, Vladimir Putin and finally the Russian secret service FSB. The descriptions in the secret dossiers are reminiscent of another dark chapter in the company’s history. Between 2008 and 2015 KEH hired the private detective agency Adato to monitor his surroundings. With each risk report by the investigators, the lucrative order expanded.

In the course of the “Sissi” operation, during which KEH had his own brother Georg spied on, all alarm bells rang when the detectives came across Francisco C. The bank manager had the confidence of Georg, but was classified as highly dangerous by the investigators. At the end of the 1990s, C. was the head of the German company St. Petersburg Immobilien AG, on whose advisory board Vladimir Putin sat and which was long suspected of laundering funds for the Russian mafia. A preliminary investigation by the public prosecutor’s office was discontinued due to the statute of limitations. This information was reason enough for KEH to remove C. again from the family environment. As learned from circles of the Tengelmann clan, C. reappeared at Georg’s side months after KEH disappeared. “That worries us,” says the family from security circles.

KEH’s past could still play a role in the family dispute over the Tengelmann empire

The circumstantial evidence and statements that the private investigations have produced over the past three years do not yet provide any proof whether KEH actually acted as a spy. The reputational suspicions in the Tengelmann reports could still play a role in the dispute between Christian Haub and his sister-in-law Katrin Haub. At the moment, the two family lines are trying to agree to sell the shares of “Charlie” and his children to Christian. Should this still fail because of the price, Christian’s lawyer Mark Binz has already publicly announced that KEH’s “Cologne trunk” will be excluded from the shareholders for an important reason. Connections to criminal or foreign secret service organizations would be one reason in this case. The Tengelmann investigation continues.


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