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Benko Faces Bribery Probe in Test for $25 Billion Empire

  • Austrian mogul denies allegations and expects to be cleared
  • Legal cases add to challenges from tougher property markets
Rene Benko

Rene Benko

Photographer: Marcel Kusch/picture alliance/Getty Images
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Rene Benko has built an opulent $25 billion real estate empire by wooing old money and up-and-coming power players, but now faces the biggest test of his career amid a tangle of legal challenges and market headwinds. 

Prosecutors in Vienna claim donations he made to a charity were veiled bribery payments to facilitate building permits. The 45-year-old denies the charges and expects to be cleared in court. Hearings in the case will continue Friday.