Millionaire heiress on the hunt for strangers to give away her £21.5m inheritance

Millionaire heiress on the hunt for strangers to give away her £21.5m inheritance
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An Austrian millionaire has been figuring out how to distribute her €25m (£21.5m) inheritance from her grandmother Traudl Engelhorn-Vechiatto – and she's come up with a unique solution.

Marlene Engelhorn, 31, from Vienna, is a descendant of Friedrich Engelhorn who founded the German chemical and pharmaceutical company, BASF.

When her grandmother died in September 2022, Engelhorn inherited the staggering sum of money.

The heiress has decided to redistribute her fortune by asking Austrian citizens to take part in her initiative known as the Good Council for Redistribution.

"I have inherited a fortune, and therefore power, without having done anything for it," she said. "And the state doesn't even want taxes on it."

Earlier this week, 10,000 people were randomly selected to apply with plans to select 50 of them to join and share their views on how the inheritance should be used.

Those selected will receive €1,200 for each weekend they attend. Childcare and interpreters will also be offered to those who need them.

Engelhorn believes the discussions will be a "service to democracy".

"I have no veto rights," she said: "I am putting my assets at the disposal of these 50 people and placing my trust in them."

If the 50 people cannot come up with a "widely supported" decision on what to do with the money, it will go back to Engelhorn.

"If politicians don't do their job and redistribute, then I have to redistribute my wealth myself," she explained in her statement.

"Many people struggle to make ends meet with a full-time job, and pay taxes on every euro they earn from work. I see this as a failure of politics, and if politics fails, then the citizens have to deal with it themselves."

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