Austrian Economic Legal Issues and Insolvencies

Read the latest headlines about laws, jurisdictions and court decisions in Vienna and Austria with reference to the international interest

Brenner Transit Dispute: Austria and Italy Go to European Court

The long-running dispute over the anti-transit measures on the Brenner route between Austria and Italy continues to escalate: the European Commission has cleared the way for Italy to take Austria to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

May 16, 2024

Raiffeisen Bank International Withdraws from Controversial STRABAG Transaction

Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) has announced that it will no longer pursue the planned acquisition of shares in STRABAG SE. This decision was made public in an ad hoc announcement in which the bank stated that it had not received the necessary comfort in discussions with the relevant authorities to proceed with the transaction. RBI therefore decided to refrain from the transaction for reasons of prudence.

May 15, 2024

René Benko Business Scandal: Abu Dhabi's Ruling Family Demands Millions Back

The ruling family of Abu Dhabi, led by Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan, is demanding the return of 250 million euros from René Benko via the International Court of Arbitration (ICC) in Paris.

May 14, 2024

Republic of Austria Opposes Restructuring of Signa Development

The Republic of Austria has filed an appeal against Signa Development's fiduciary restructuring plan, leaving the future of the restructuring process of the real estate conglomerate founded by René Benko hanging in the balance. This legal action could lead to a complete reassessment of the restructuring strategy.

May 1, 2024

Raiffeisen Bank International Expects ECB Call to Accelerate Withdrawals from Russia

Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) is facing increasing pressure from the European Central Bank (ECB) to reduce its business activities in Russia more rapidly. This follows a number of developments and the publication of an ad hoc announcement by the bank in which it is expected that the ECB will make an official request to accelerate the wind-down measures in the near future.

April 18, 2024

Transit Clash at the Alps: Italy's Salvini Against Austrian Bans

The increasingly explosive dispute over the Tyrolean anti-transit measures is escalating between Italy and Austria. Italy's Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Matteo Salvini publicly accused the Austrian government of "arrogance" and criticized the European Commission for its "long-standing shameful inaction".

April 3, 2024

Escalation in the Tariff Dispute: AUA Facing Massive Flight Cancellations at Easter

Austrian Airlines (AUA) is on the brink of an extensive strike, which is to begin on Maundy Thursday and last 36 hours. Negotiations between the trade union vida and AUA management have so far been unsuccessful, leading to the announcement that over 400 flights will be canceled during the peak travel period at Easter. Around 50,000 passengers will be affected by the cancellations, significantly disrupting the Easter plans of many travelers.

March 26, 2024

Trade Seminar in Vienna on the Latest Regulatory Developments in the UAE

Diplomacy, business, and finance representatives gathered in Vienna for a seminar dedicated to the latest regulatory developments in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Organized by the Embassy of the UAE in cooperation with Crowe UAE and the Austrian Arab Chamber of Commerce (AACC), the seminar provided a platform for an exchange on innovations in tax, corporate, and immigration law in the UAE. The event received special support through the participation of experts from the UAE Ministry of Finance and the Austrian Chamber of Commerce.

March 24, 2024

Raiffeisen Bank International Under Observation by U.S. Sanctions Authorities

Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), a prominent financial institution based in Austria, is the focus of the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) due to its ongoing business relationship with Russia. OFAC has contacted the bank to request details of its transactions and processes related to Russia.

March 11, 2024

Signa's Major Project "Lamarr" in Vienna Seeks New Owner

The prestigious "Lamarr" real estate project on the bustling Mariahilfer Strasse, a flagship property of the troubled Signa Group, is now officially on the market.

March 6, 2024

Financial Turbulence and Internal Conflicts Shake Signa Group Severely

The Signa Group's financial crisis reached a new peak when creditors filed claims totaling EUR 6.3 billion against Signa Prime, of which only EUR 2.6 billion were recognized by the restructuring administrator Norbert Abel. The hearing at the Vienna Commercial Court revealed that the group's financial difficulties are deeper than previously thought, with a significant proportion of the claims in dispute.

February 26, 2024

Financial Market Authority Initiates Investigations Against Raiffeisen Bank International

The Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) has launched an investigation into Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI). The focus is on possible deficiencies in the implementation of money laundering prevention measures, as can be seen from the bank's annual report published today.

February 25, 2024

Decline in Frozen Russian Assets in Austria

The significant drop in the volume of frozen Russian assets in Austria, as observed over the past year, mirrors a broader trend seen in other countries, where the handling and status of these assets have been dynamic and subject to legal, political, and financial considerations.

February 21, 2024

Austria's Foreign Minister Schallenberg Criticizes Italy's Transit Lawsuit

Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg has sharply criticized Italy after the country decided to take legal action against Austria's Alpine transit regulations before the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

February 17, 2024

Signa Group's Luxury Properties up for Sale: A Glimmer of Hope for the Redevelopment

Signa Prime Selection AG, a major player in the luxury real estate market, is currently facing financial difficulties that could now be alleviated by the planned sale of some of its most prestigious properties. Karl-Heinz Götze, the insolvency manager of the credit protection association KSV1870, sees this step as a crucial "piece of the puzzle" for an orderly resolution of Signa Prime's insolvency proceedings.

February 14, 2024

Austria Plans to Withdraw from Russian Gas Contracts

In a decisive step against continued energy dependence, Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) announced that she would end the gas supply contracts between OMV and the Russian company Gazprom. The contracts, which run until 2040 and oblige Austria to purchase significant quantities, are under critical review. Gewessler commissioned the Economic Research Institute (WIFO) to carry out a detailed analysis of the economic consequences of termination and the risks of continued dependency.

February 12, 2024

Signa-Retail Company Lamarr Declares Bankruptcy

The highly anticipated Lamarr Kaufhaus project on Mariahilfer Straße in Vienna, set to include a flagship department store and hotel, has filed for bankruptcy. This development comes as a significant blow, as the project, originally slated for completion in 2025, has faced financial turmoil. The insolvency was confirmed by the Creditors' Protection Association KSV 1870 on Friday.

February 4, 2024

Realignment and Expert Dialog: Austria's Path to Fair Competition

The new head of the Federal Competition Authority (BWB), Natalie Harsdorf-Borsch, has set herself the goal of taking stronger action against companies that abuse their market power. This focus marks a strategic reorientation of the BWB, which previously dealt primarily with price agreements and investigated fewer cases of abuse of market power.

January 28, 2024

Austrian Justice Minister Zadić Plans Reforms in Connection with the Signa Insolvency

The insolvency of the Signa real estate company has far-reaching consequences, which are now also prompting the Austrian Ministry of Justice under the leadership of Green Justice Minister Alma Zadić. In a five-point plan in response to Signa's insolvency, Zadić plans to significantly tighten the penalties for failing to submit balance sheets.

January 24, 2024

Signa Prime and Development: Future Secured Despite Insolvency

The future of the two important branches of the Signa Group, Signa Prime and Signa Development, seems secure for the time being.

January 15, 2024

Austrian Banking Sector Focuses on Sustainability: OeKB > ESG Data Hub Established

In a remarkable step towards promoting sustainability in the financial sector, Oesterreichische Kontrollbank (OeKB) has successfully introduced the OeKB > ESG Data Hub. Around 80% of the domestic banking sector, including well-known institutions such as UniCredit Bank Austria, Raiffeisen-Sektor, Erste Bank, and Sparkassen as well as Oberbank, already use this central online platform.

January 11, 2024

Financial Crisis at Signa: Bankruptcy Proceedings Initiated for Subsidiaries

The financial difficulties of Signa's flagship Signa Prime Selection lead to further negative developments within the group.

January 8, 2024

Signa Crisis: Call to Investors for Financial Support

Signa Holding, a prominent real estate company, is facing financial difficulties. Erhard Grossnigg, the Chief Restructuring Officer of the Signa subsidiaries Prime and Development, has sent a letter to investors urgently requesting additional funding.

January 4, 2024

Emirati State Fund Mubadala Fails with Claim Against Signa Holding

The Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, Mubadala, has failed with a significant claim against the insolvent Signa Holding. The request to claim a payment of 713 million euros was rejected in emergency arbitration proceedings.

December 21, 2023

New Second Home Tax in Vienna in 2025

Vienna is implementing new measures to regulate second homes. From 2025, an annual tax will be introduced for people who have a secondary residence in Vienna but do not have their main residence there.

December 21, 2023

Vienna Commercial Court Establishes Creditors' Committee for Signa Holding

The Austrian Signa Holding, founded in 2000 by René Benko, is currently facing major challenges. The Commercial Court of Vienna has set up a creditors' committee for the ongoing reorganization proceedings to examine the non-transparent structures of the Signa Group and to decide on the reorganization plan offered by Signa.

December 18, 2023

Ukraine Removes Raiffeisen Bank International from the List of "War Sponsors"

The Ukrainian government has temporarily removed Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) from the controversial list of "war sponsors". This step follows intensive bilateral talks and consultations with representatives of the European Commission. RBI, which was previously criticized for its business activities in Russia and the recognition of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics by its Russian subsidiary, is now no longer suspected of supporting the Russian war of aggression.

December 17, 2023

The Future of a Crumbling Empire: René Benko's Signa Group in Insolvency

The insolvency of the Signa Group, an Austrian company active in various sectors, including the real estate market, has far-reaching implications. Read more about the future of the Austrian flagship company!

December 6, 2023

Rene Benko and the Future of the Signa Group: Silence Before the Storm?

The Austrian Signa Group once celebrated as a shining star in the real estate sky and a powerful player in the retail sector, is currently facing uncertain times and financial turbulence. Company founder Rene Benko, who has led the group from a non-operational position since 2013 and holds the majority of voting rights through his family foundations, is at the center of a heated debate about the group's future.

November 6, 2023

Italy Takes Austria to the European Court of Justice over Transit Measures

The ongoing controversy over transit measures on the Brenner route reached a new level of escalation when the Italian government decided to take Austria to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

October 16, 2023

German Car-Sharing Company Under Suspicion in Vienna for Million Euro Fraud

In a sensational move, police authorities in Germany and Austria have launched extensive investigations into a German car-sharing company, overshadowed by a blatant suspicion of multimillion-dollar parking fee fraud. The investigations are targeting the company's directors and involve alleged offenses such as gang crime, fraud, and document forgery.

October 11, 2023

EU-Mercosur Pact: Austria's Balancing Act between Trade Opportunities and Sustainability

The discussion about the free trade agreement between the EU and the Mercosur countries - Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay - is entering a new round. While some see the treaty as an opportunity to intensify trade between the two economic areas, others raise serious concerns about its impact on the environment and social standards.

September 19, 2023

Real Estate Prices in Austria Increased: Housing Increasingly Less Affordable

The cost of residential real estate in Austria has risen dramatically in recent years, significantly affecting affordability for many households. According to a recent analysis conducted by UniCredit Bank Austria, residential property prices in the euro area have risen faster than incomes. Austria has been particularly affected by this development, where property prices have actually fallen by almost 40 percent compared with incomes.

August 31, 2023

Vietnam and UN Strengthen Collaboration on Commercial Law Reforms

In a move to enhance cooperation between Vietnam and the United Nations, a significant memorandum of understanding was signed between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam and the secretariat of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).

August 21, 2023

Austria's Consumer Protection Ministry Mandates Action Against Banks for Low Interest Rates

According to the Consumer Protection Ministry, the practice of Austrian banks of charging high-interest rates on overdrafts while granting no interest at all on credit balances is meeting with growing resentment among consumers.

August 16, 2023

Austria's Successful Green Budgeting and Emission Reduction Efforts

The Climate Team, newly established in the Austrian Ministry of Finance, has presented essential results and analyses in recent months to bring Austria closer to the goal of a cost-effective and socially acceptable transformation in climate protection. In fact, the European Commission, OECD, and World Bank have all recognized Austrian green budgeting as a best practice.

July 30, 2023

Controversy Surrounds Jan Marsalek's Letter in Wirecard Scandal Trial

In connection with the Wirecard scandal trial, a letter from Jan Marsalek, a former Wirecard board member, is causing controversy. Marsalek, who has been on the run for three years, contacted the Munich Regional Court in writing through his lawyer.

July 19, 2023

OMV Secures Additional European Gas Transmission and Pipeline Capacities until 2028

The listed oil and gas group OMV has successfully secured additional European gas transport capacities and gas pipeline capacities. This measure serves to secure Austria's gas supply and enables OMV to meet its delivery obligations in the medium term.

July 12, 2023

EU Commission Expresses Concerns About Austria's Judicial System

In its published rule of law report, the EU Commission expressed several concerns about Austria. In principle, the independence of the Austrian judicial system is highly regarded, the country-specific document states.

July 12, 2023

Wirecard Trial: Entire Wirecard Asia Business Made Up

Wirecard's insolvency administrator, Michael Jaffe, has confirmed that the company's deal with supposed partners in Asia was completely fabricated, according to recent findings. This is according to Jaffe's fifth status report to the Munich District Court.

June 27, 2023

New Unitary Patent Paves the Way for Innovative Companies in Europe

As of June 1, 2023, a unitary patent (unitary patent) will be introduced that will be valid in most member states of the European Union. Austria already ranks eighth in the EU for future technologies.

June 1, 2023

Austria's Best Tax Consultants Were Awarded

The Institute for Investment Consulting (IFA AG) and the daily newspaper "Die Presse" presented the coveted "Tax Consultant of the Year" award to the best tax consultants in Austria. The festive award ceremony took place in the Sofiensälen in Vienna and was accompanied by Federal Minister of Finance Dr. Magnus Brunner as keynote speaker. More than 16,000 nominations demonstrate appreciation for both the industry and the award.

May 25, 2023

Austrian OMV Declares Exit from Russian Gas as "Extremely Difficult"

The CEO of the Austrian energy group OMV, Alfred Stern, currently sees hardly any possibility to get out of the Russian business with natural gas. He also sees no alternative to fossil fuels in the short term and talked about relations with Asia-Pacific.

March 28, 2023

Austria Wants to Bring New EU Anti-Money Laundering Authority to Vienna

Austria is bidding for the seat of the new EU Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) and wants to bring it to Vienna, Finance Minister Magnus Brunner said. However, it is still unclear whether this is feasible in the current climate of Austrian politics.

March 23, 2023

Austria Should Do More to Fight and Prevent Corruption

An evaluation report published by the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) has found that the Austrian state is doing too little to fight corruption in some areas and needs to improve its strategy on it.

March 1, 2023

Ex-OMV Chief Doubts Policy Statements on Russian Gas Pullout

Russian gas supplies to Austria are currently causing discussions. While the Austrian government wants to do without gas supplies from Russia altogether by 2027, OMV refers to long-term contracts.

March 1, 2023

Raiffeisen Probed by U.S. Sanctions Authority

Raiffeisen Bank International, an Austrian lender that plays a critical role in the Russian economy, is under investigation by the US sanctions authority over its Russia-related business.

February 18, 2023

Markus Braun Denies Any Acknowledgment in the Wirecard Trial

The Austrian businessman Markus Braun is the main defendant in the whole Wirecard-Scandal. Now he testified for the first time in court. He denied any acknowledgment of alleged crime in the company, which contradicted the testimonials of key witness Oliver Bellenhaus.

February 13, 2023

AACC and Vienna Economic Forum Signed a Memorandum of Understanding

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce (AACC) and the Vienna Economic Forum (VEF) to enhance mutual relations and strengthen cooperation.

February 13, 2023

Combating Human Trafficking and Money Laundering Discussions Occurred at the Ministry of Finance

The Austrian Ministry of Finance invited several experts on the human trafficking and money laundering issue. They discussed possible solutions to these problems and the ministry's help in it.

February 12, 2023