European Kings Club
The European Kings Club ( EKC ) was a fraudulent Ponzi scheme launched in 1991 , with sect-like features, which collapsed in the fall of 1994. 80,000 investors, including 20,000 from Switzerland and the same number from Austria , lost a total of 1.6 billion Swiss francs. The head of the organization was Damara Bertges, together with the former doctor Hans Günther Spachtholz. The headquarters of the European Kings Club was in the small town of Gelnhausen in Hessen .
Each participant could buy so-called “letters” at a unit price of over 1400 francs, with a promised distribution of 12 monthly installments of 200 francs. In the Swiss cantons of Uri and Glarus , around one in ten adults invested in the pyramid scheme. In Switzerland, 20,000 investors lost their money. Some of them use all their savings.
Damara Bertges was arrested in November 1994 and charged with fraud and illegal banking. In 1997 she was sentenced to 8 years in prison in Frankfurt for fraud and founding a criminal organization.
To date, the club has a small number of followers. An EKC party was even founded in Switzerland, the founder of which in turn gave away as required reading the book “Secret Societies and Their Power in the 20th Century” by Jan van Helsing, which was indexed in Germany and Switzerland for anti-Semitic hatred .
- Frank Nordhausen , Liane von Billerbeck : Psycho sects - The practices of the soul catcher . ISBN 3-59614240-7
- Bleating sheep . In: Der Spiegel . No. 49 , 1994, pp. 163 ( online ).
- Hansjürg Zumstein : Greed and the bad consequences. Video in: SRF 1 , first broadcast on July 15, 2010 (33 minutes)
- When the European Kings Club collapsed on nzz.ch on September 21, 2014