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High-profile Suicides Rise in Wake of Financial Crisis

Posted January. 08, 2009 05:09,   


German billionaire Adolf Merckle has committed suicide after suffering from huge losses stemming from the global financial crisis.

Merckle yesterday threw himself under an oncoming train near his company, according to German media.

“The desperate situation of his companies caused by the financial crisis, the uncertainty of the past few weeks, and his powerlessness to act broke the passionate family entrepreneur and he took his own life,” his family said in a brief statement.

German prosecutors said they found a suicide note meant for his family but did not disclose the content.

The 74-year-old tycoon controlled a number of companies including generic drug maker Ratiopharm International GmbH and cement maker HeidelbergCement AG through his family holding company VEM Vermoegensverwaltung GmbH. His conglomerate employed 100,000 workers.

He was ranked Germany’s fifth richest man by Forbes magazine in 2007.

Though reluctant to appear in public, he invited G8 leaders to his castle in 2007.

The holding company had reportedly fallen into a liquidly crisis after suffering heavy losses worth one billion euros when the shares of automaker Volkswagen wildly fluctuated last fall.

This occurred in the process of fellow carmaker Porsche SE`s move to increase its stake in the company. More than 40 banks rejected Merckle`s plea for new loans.

In the United States, real estate mogul Steven L. Good was found dead Monday morning in his Jaguar in a wildlife preserve outside Chicago in an apparent suicide.

The 52-year-old was chief executive of Sheldon Good & Co., one of the largest U.S. real estate auction companies. Police found him with a gunshot wound to the head.

No suicide note was found.

He said last month in an industry outlook news release that market conditions were “very challenging.”

Late last year, Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, the chief executive and co-founder of the French investment firm Access International Advisors, was found dead in his office in an apparent suicide. He reportedly lost 1.4 billion dollars due to Bernard Madoff’s investment scheme.

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