Gesfö & Co: New details on Tojner investigations

Lending plays a role in the investigation, which has been ongoing since 2019. At that time, the state of Burgenland had filed a complaint - more on this in the raid on the company headquarters of investor Tojner, Tojner is suing the state for damages and Causa Tojner: the state puts the amount of damage at 163 million euros.

According to suspicions, Tojner and numerous other suspects are said to have damaged the country in connection with three non-profit housing companies. The investor has always vehemently denied the allegations, the presumption of innocence applies. These companies bore the names "Riedenhof", "Gesfö" and "Pannonia".

payments to the state

The companies were stripped of their non-profit status: 2012 Pannonia, 2015 Riedenhof and Gesfö. At least in the case of Gesfö and Riedenhof, this is said to have happened at their own instigation. According to the law, an advance payment to the federal state is due. This is intended to prevent the owners from reaping excessive profits at the expense of non-profit housing construction.

According to suspicion, the accused are said to have deceived the country about the actual financial situation of the companies, so that these payments were set too low. The investigators are examining the extent to which Tojner himself was behind these housing companies. Among other things, the companies are said to have sold real estate far too cheaply in order to reduce their assets on paper - to intermediate companies, which are also attributed to Tojner's sphere of influence.

"Jump" and "Run": Purchase of 19 properties

"profil" research shows that the investigators also turned to Erste Bank. This provided the WKStA with documents that paint the following picture: Accordingly, in 2015 Erste Bank granted two companies named “Jump” and “Run” loans totaling EUR 28 million.

The purpose was to purchase 19 properties from Riedenhof and Gesfö – mostly residential buildings in a good location in Vienna with a total floor space of 47,686 square meters. Ultimately, another undeveloped plot of land may have been added, according to the news magazine. Some of the properties were to be sold off quickly, while others were to be held for longer.

Market value almost twice as high as the purchase price

What caught the eye of the investigators was the valuation of the property. Erste Bank obtained a report from an expert. This calculated market value of a total of 43 million euros, writes the “profil”. Such a volume was not only far in excess of the loan amount. As can be seen from the internal bank lists available to the investigators, the total market value was almost twice as high as the purchase price that “Jump” and “Run” paid for the Gesfö and Riedenhof properties.

According to "profil", these lists were apparently drawn up by the bank together with representatives of "Jump" and "Run". However, Erste did not send a relevant email to the lawyer who formally acted as the beneficial owner of the company, but to an employee of Tojner at his company "Wertinvest".

"Sale plan" for real estate

The email – and the lists in its attachment – ​​date from January 2016. That was relatively shortly after the purchase of the Gesfö and Riedenhof properties. According to the list, however, there was already a "sale plan" in place at the time, according to which six of these properties were to be sold six months later for more than 25 million euros. That's exactly what happened (with a price difference of only 2,500 euros for one of the properties).

The earlier purchase prices for the six properties, on the other hand, had totaled just 7.5 million euros. The investigators want to clarify whether a long-orchestrated sell-off and resale took place here - and whether this was intended to mislead the country into lower assets of the housing construction companies.

Tojner's lawyer relies on independent experts

Tojner's lawyer Karl Liebenwein emphasized when asked by "profil" that the real estate had been sold by the housing associations "exclusively at market values ​​determined by independent experts". The sale took place after the non-profit status was withdrawn. Wertinvest, in turn, acted “within the framework of a management contract for Gesfö and Riedenhof”.