Billionaire Karl-Erivan Haub Reportedly Suspected Of Faking His Own Death And Moving To Moscow With His Russian Girlfriend


Being a billionaire has more than its share of privileges, and being able to fake your own death in style and comfort would be one of the less remarked upon ones. But if reports in Newsweek and other outlets are accurate, billionaire Karl-Erivan Haub (son of late businessman Erivan Haub), who holds/held dual citizenship in Germany and the United States, faked his own death to join his Russian girlfriend in Moscow under a new identity.

Haub used to be the managing director of Tengelmann Group, a retail conglomerate in Germany, and as far as the world knew, he was last seen alive on a ski lift in Switzerland in the spring of 2018. The next day, he was reported missing and eventually declared dead after search efforts were called off six months later. Now, his younger brother Christian Haub, who inherited his role in the company and swore to investigators he had no inside knowledge of his brother’s whereabouts, is being investigated by authorities in Cologne, which is where the elder Haub lived. A local news organization reported that the authorities were investigating the possibility that Karl-Erivan was still alive and that his younger brother knew about it.

However, the state prosecutor’s office has so far denied that there is sufficient evidence that Haub faked his death, and his official certificate of death has not yet been reversed.

ROLAND WEIHRAUCH/dpa/AFP via Getty Images

The investigation reportedly stems from a group of journalists with German news channel RTL, who seem to believe that Haub is still alive. They filed a criminal complaint in May of last year alleging as much, and one of the journalists, Liv von Boetticher, told German magazine Capital about the story: “There are strong indications that he could have caused his disappearance intentionally,” she wrote, adding “at least parts of his family were aware of it and, against their better judgment, kept this secret from the Cologne District Court and the public.” She went on:

“We had also informed the Cologne District Court in 2021 of our strong doubts about Mr. Haub’s death. The step of filing a criminal complaint against Christian Haub in May 2023 is certainly unusual, but we saw it as the last resort to officially initiate an investigation and clarify the background to the mysterious disappearance of Karl-Erivan Haub.”

The evidence that Boetticher says the team has uncovered includes purported photos of Haub alive and well in Moscow after his supposed disappearance and that the photos also implicate his younger brother:

“To my knowledge, these photos were available to Christian Haub at the time when he gave a sworn statement to the Cologne district court in May 2021 that he had ‘no reliable evidence’ that his brother was still alive.”

The story gets even wilder from here, involving a woman whom Boetticher describes as “an alleged lover of Karl-Erivan Haub with whom he had intense telephone contact before his disappearance and who has connections with the Russian domestic intelligence service the FSB.”

As for why Haub may have faked his death and moved to Moscow? It might have been to avoid complications for his business associations in Russia, also according to Boetticher.

It all sounds like the setup for a Robert Ludlum thriller, with future developments in the story almost certainly still to come, and hopefully, they’ll be interesting enough to make it outside Germany.

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