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Susanne Klatten

Susanne Klatten

The richest woman in Germany, Susanne Klatten, met her future husband while she was working in an apprenticeship at BMW (which she owned 12.5% of) under a fake name. He had no idea who she actually was until they were sure about their relationship.



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Susanne Klatten is a German heiress, the daughter of Herbert and Johanna Quandt. On her father's death she inherited his 50.1% stake in pharmaceutical and chemicals manufacturer Altana. In 2006 Altana AG sold its pharmaceutical activities to Nycomed for €4.5 billion, leaving only its speciality chemicals business. Altana maintained its stock exchange listing and Klatten remained its majority shareholder. Her father also left her a 12.50% stake in BMW. She was appointed to the supervisory board of BMW with her brother Stefan Quandt in 1997. German graphite maker SGL Carbon said on 16 March 2009 that Klatten owns options to raise her stake in SGL from 8% to almost a quarter of the shares but no more than that. She owns an approximately 25% stake in German wind turbine manufacturer Nordex and, in 2012, bought stakes from Dutch biotech company Paques and used oil recycling company Avista Oil [de] of Germany.

The Hanns Joachim Friedrichs Award winning documentary film The Silence of the Quandts by the German public broadcaster ARD described in October 2007 the role of the Quandt family businesses during the Second World War. The family's Nazi past was not well known, but the documentary film revealed this to a wide audience and confronted the Quandts about the use of slave labourers in the family's factories during World War II. As a result, five days after the showing, four family members announced, on behalf of the entire Quandt family, their intention to fund a research project in which a historian will examine the family's activities during Adolf Hitler's dictatorship. The independent 1,200-page study that was released in 2011 concluded: "The Quandts were linked inseparably with the crimes of the Nazis"-Joachim Scholtyseck, the Bonn historian who compiled and researched the study. Police prevented an attempt to kidnap her and her mother Johanna Quandt in 1978. Susanne met Jan Klatten while she was doing an internship with BMW in Regensburg, where he worked as an engineer. It is reported that during this time she called herself Kant and did not tell him who she was until they were sure about each other, but Klatten herself denies the story. In 2007 Klatten was blackmailed by Helg "Russak" Sgarbi, a 44-year-old Swiss national who threatened to release materials depicting the two having an affair. His accomplice, the Italian hotel owner Ernano Barretta who allegedly filmed Sgarbi and Klatten with hidden cameras, was also arrested and was sentenced in 2012 to seven years in prison.

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