Glock Defeats Ex-Wife’s $500 Million ‘Shotgun’ Racketeering Suit
A legal feud between pistol tycoon Gaston Glock and his ex-wife, Helga, has ended with a resounding victory for the legendary gunmaker. A federal judge in Atlanta dismissed a racketeering lawsuit filed by Helga Glock in which she accused her former husband of siphoning off millions of dollars from the family firearm empire.
Before getting into the details of the ruling, here’s some background. The Austrian company Glock GmbH, operating through its U.S. subsidiary, Glock Inc., supplies two-thirds of American law enforcement agencies with durable, large-capacity semiautomatic pistols. Glocks are also popular in the lucrative U.S. civilian gun market.
Since they were introduced to America in the mid-1980s, Glock handguns have made their inventor, Gaston Glock, 87, a very rich man—although just how rich isn’t publicly known because the company is closely held and highly secretive.
In 2011, Gaston and Helga Glock divorced acrimoniously, raising the question of how much of the family fortune, including ownership of the gun company, Helga should get. Fierce disagreement on this point led to litigation in Austria and, eventually, in the U.S.. In 2014, Helga sued Gaston in Atlanta (near the headquarters of Glock Inc.) under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
She sought $500 million, plus unspecified punitive damages and legal fees. Helga Glock, who helped her ex-husband get the company aloft in the early 1980s, accused Gaston of using a variety of illicit strategies to move money from the international corporation into his own pocket. She also alleged he had rearranged ownership of the family company in such a way as to deny her and their three adult children any control over the firm.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash Jr. dismissed the RICO suit last week as unsubstantiated and nebulously stated. Thrash criticized the complaint as a “shotgun pleading,” meaning one “replete with conclusory, vague, and immaterial facts not obviously connected to any particular cause of action.”
Without concluding that Gaston had committed any wrongdoing, the judge said in his March 20 decision that, if there had been an illegal scheme, it had been directed solely at ripping off the Glock companies—not Helga Glock as an individual.
A lawyer for Helga Glock told the Daily Report, an Atlanta legal trade publication, that she intends to appeal.