Missing Billionaire, Who Was Declared Dead in 2021, Is Believed to Be Alive and Living With His Mistress in Russia

By Jace Dela Cruz

Apr 18, 2024 08:50 AM EDT

An investigation led by German broadcaster RTL claimed that billionaire tycoon Karl-Erivan Haub, who went missing after a skiing trip in Switzerland in 2018, might still be alive and residing in Russia with his alleged Russian mistress, Veronika Ermilova. 

Picture taken on July 7, 2016 shows Karl-Erivan Haub, billionaire chief of Germany's sprawling Tengelmann retail group, during a press conference in Muelheim an der Ruhr, western Germany. - Haub has gone missing while skiing in the Swiss Alps, the Tengelmann company said on April 11, 2018, although searchers have not given up hope of finding him.
(Photo : ROLAND WEIHRAUCH/dpa/AFP via Getty Images)

The Mysterious Disappearance of Billionaire Karl-Erivan Haub 

According to GB News, Karl-Erivan Haub, then 58, was last seen alone in a lift heading up the Matterhorn mountain in Zermatt, Switzerland, on the morning of April 7, 2018. He never returned to his hotel room after that.

The former managing director and part-owner of German retail giant Tengelmann Group was training for a ski mountaineering race at the time. After a six-day search, no trace of him was found.

He was declared dead by a German court three years after vanishing in the Swiss Alps. His wife, brothers, and the company have submitted the evidence to have him officially declared dead. 

His younger brother Christian Haub swore in a courtroom in 2021 that there was no sign that the German-American retail tycoon, whose net worth was estimated at £5.2 billion, was still alive.

Christian, who assumed control of the Tengelmann Group after his brother's disappearance, is now being investigated by the state prosecutor's office in Cologne over allegations that he could have provided false statements and had reliable evidence that his older brother could still be alive.

The latest investigation came after a team of RTL journalists investigating Haub's disappearance filed a criminal complaint in May 2023, saying that the billionaire could have faked his own death.

RTL's team claims to have identified Haub in Moscow and believes he's there with his mistress, who is suspected of being a Russian agent. According to the probe by RTL, Haub, who would now be aged 64, made calls to Ermilova's phone 13 times in the three days before he went missing.

These calls, with one lasting more than an hour, led to suspicions he was plotting to fake his disappearance and death with help from Moscow and Veronika Ermilova.

The investigation revealed that Ermilova, 44, ran an event agency in St. Petersburg that organized outdoor excursions. While she was suspected of being involved with Russia's FSB security service, this allegation remains unproven. 

Ermilova is now listed on LinkedIn as a marketing director at Russian Event, a travel experience company.

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Missing Billionaire Karl-Erivan Haub and Mistress Reportedly Found Together in Same Locations

RTL's report said the team could prove that Veronika Ermilova was "always in the same places at the same time" with Karl-Erivan Haub. In July 2008, the two were reportedly in Moscow and Sochi within a few days.

The report noted they also traveled on the same night train from Moscow to St. Petersburg in separate compartments in May 2009.

"Further overlaps of short trips by Haub and [Ermilova] can be found for stays in Omsk (2010), Sochi (2011), Baku (2014), and Moscow (2015, 2017)," the report added.

However, the exact nature of their relationship and the purpose of these alleged meetings remain unclear. RTL journalist Liv von Boetticher, who was part of the investigative team, said she had acquired photos in the fall of 2022 that seemed to show Haub in Moscow in February 2021.

She noted that these pictures were available to Christian when he gave his sworn statement to the Cologne court.

"On this basis there were investigations by the internal investigators and specially commissioned agencies in Russia," Boetticher said, as Newsweek reported. 

"There is a record that shows the investigators assumed Haub was in Russia and also said they could get a photo of him for €100,000 (about $100,000)," she added.

Boetticher believed the billionaire's motive for leaving for Russia lies in his "business connections" to the country or might have been working for the Russians. 

"Karl-Erivan Haub is known to have done business with questionable people in the Russian economy... Our assumption is that business with Russia or with Russian business partners could have got Karl-Erivan in trouble in the West," she noted.

"He could have been acting as a kind of influence agent for Russia in Germany... (His disappearance came) at a time when Tengelmann was doing pretty badly... and was expanding into Russia with the Obi DIY chain, for example. I am sure it was not a skiing accident, but a staged escape," she added.

READ MORE: Russia Could Turn Against Vladimir Putin as Economic Strength Wanes and Western Sanctions Heighten, Economists Warn

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