The untimely end of a flamboyant dictator

At Forbes, I have posted the latest episode in the long-running saga of the failure of Hypo Alpe Adria:
The story of the failed Austrian bank Hypo Alpe Adria (HAA), and its transformation into the world’s worst “bad bank” – the insolvent HETA – resembles a Hollywood blockbuster. Complete with a cast of thousands, colorful principal characters, an extraordinary range of special (legal) effects and a reach far beyond its national borders, the HETA saga is long, staggeringly expensive, mind-numbingly complex and at times unintentionally hilarious.
HETA’s liabilities are mostly guaranteed by the government of the province of Carinthia. Under its flamboyant far-right governor Joerg Haider, Carinthia provided deficiency guarantees for over 11bn EUR of bonds and subordinated debt issued by HAA. These would be triggered when HETA is wound up, forcing HETA’s losses on to Carinthia and – by extension – on to the Austrian sovereign. But Carinthia’s current government – now bereft of Haider and his minions – insists it cannot pay. And the Austrian government doesn’t want to pay. It has made repeated attempts to wriggle out of the guarantees and impose losses on creditors. 
But the creditors are fighting back. And the mess is becoming ever more widespread. You can read all about it here.

Now, what about that colourful charlatan Joerg Haider?

Unlike other corrupt politicians and bankers, Haider is not enjoying his ill-gotten gains somewhere in the Bahamas, safe from the reach of the tax authorities authorities and the law. He died in a car crash in 2008.

The official explanation is that he hit a street lamp while drunk. Secret Ledger on Twitter explains:

He went off the road at 88mph, hit a wall and a tree....the rest is history.

The car looked like this:

But there are always conspiracy theories, of course. See the hole in the car roof (white circle)? The link provided by Secret Ledger - from which this picture comes - suggests that the hole was made by an explosive device (translation by Google):
Conceivable would be an explosion, triggered for example by a mounted on the roof or an explosive fired by a drone missile that at the moment in which it has taken its goal this seriously injured and himself largely destroyed. This process would have taken place just before the car is out of control. The car would be in the event that this scenario is true, become a 'non-steerable floor' - not, however, because the driver had tried in vain to bring the car back under control, but because - as stated in an article [14] Jörg Haider at this time already turned and was therefore unable to somehow act on his car. The hole in the roof of the car speak for these assumptions, the lack of skid marks, just above the driver's seat, the severity of injuries and the pressed-out, flung onto the roadway the driver's side doors.
Certainly, Haider's death was awfully convenient, given that Hypo Alpe Adria was by then already in very deep trouble. It's all a bit like the death of Princess Diana, isn't it?

We will probably never know what really happened.

Related reading:

Investigative reporter offers murder theory over the death of Joerg Haider - Effedieffe


  1. Got me thinking of Russell Napier's observation on the origins of consumer credit.
    It really got going with General motors acceptance corporation of 1919.
    The 20th century is the story of the war economy transformed into the consumer war economy.
    Essentially Glenda Jackson must shoot rabbits with a crooked gun so that Oliver can drive his tank over good farmland.

    So Europe is now a strange and weird mix of Rockefeller demand style management and Austrian economics.
    The American long century is turning into a nightmare for all , not just in the periphery of empire.

  2. The deep question points to why was not the ticket / token system not divorced from bank "assets" in 2008.
    This reality of non action points to the fundamental nature of power today.


  3. The author of the linked article is insinuating that the motive for Haider's assassination would have been his outspoken opposition to the Iraq war and courting of leaders that Bush and co disapproved of (such as Gaddafi). I'd have thought opposition to the Iraq war in Austria and in Europe more generally would be too commonplace for the odd assassination to make any difference, especially five years after the fact. (Indeed, a constitutionally neutral country like Austria is unlikely to support any sort of war.) A good conspiracy theory would have to come up with something a bit more personalised.

    1. Indeed, that is why I provided an alternative link at the bottom of the page. There are all sorts of theories about who was responsible for Haider's death, and why. He was by any standards a controversial figure who no doubt had many enemies. But in the end the simple explanation may still be the correct one: that he got drunk, drove too fast in fog on a dangerous road, and paid the price.

  4. Haider's end came with a part-ghastly, part-hilarious after-story in Germany. A year or two later, the Neo-Nazi NPD party put up posters for some regional election around the Jewish Museum in Berlin, featuring its leader on a Motorbike, foot on the pedal, with the caption "Gas Geben!" ("Step on the Gas!"). Titanic Magazine, a sort of Frankfurt answer to Private Eye, retaliated by covering those posters with its own (mock) NPD poster, featuring a picture of Haider and his car crash under the same caption.

  5. The moral of this story is to never elect a buffoon for a politician. It's too bad if a population suffers because the clown they democratically elected did something clownish.


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