April 2 (Reuters) - Julius Meinl V, chairman of Austria’s closely-held Meinl Bank, was arrested late on Wednesday on suspicion of defrauding investors in secretive share buybacks in 2007, Vienna prosecutors said on Thursday. [ID:nL2619867]
Following are five facts on 49-year-old Meinl and his bank:
* Meinl was born 1959 in London, heir to a family which started a shop selling coffee beans in Vienna in 1862 and which then grew into a retail chain in Austria. The family emigrated to London when Nazi Germany occupied Austria in 1938 and rebuilt the chain after World War Two, but kept its British citizenship.
* The Meinl chain name and logo — a stylised Moorish child wearing a fez — were synonymous with food retailing in Austria until Julius Meinl sold the then loss-making retail chain in 2000. He kept one luxury deli in Vienna and coffee and preserves production.
* Meinl Bank was founded as a side business in 1923 but over the years turned into the centre of the family’s business after Meinl, who had been trained at investment bank Bear Stearns in New York in the 1980s, took it over as a 23-year old in 1983 and turned it into a wealth management and investment banking firm.
* Meinl made headlines in 2006 when pictures were published of a yachting trip with then Austrian finance minister Karl-Heinz Grasser and Wolfgang Floettl, a banker who was later convicted of breach of trust in the scandal around Austrian union-owned bank BAWAG.
* Meinl Land — whose investments were managed by a company owned by Meinl Bank — sold shares to the public in an IPO in 2002 and between 2005 and 2007 raised a total of 4.3 billion euros ($5.7 billion) in equity in several share issues, which were widely advertised in mainstream media and mostly sold to Austrian retail investors.
Reporting by Boris Groendahl; Editing by David Holmes