Wallenberg family

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Group.png Wallenberg family  
(Family)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Grand hotell Saltsjöbaden.jpg
Grand Hotel Saltsjöbaden; built in 1890s by the Wallenberg family, and a regular venue for Bilderberg Conferences.
SubgroupsWallenberg Sphere

The Wallenberg family is a prominent Swedish family dynasty renowned as bankers, industrialists, politicians, bureaucrats, and diplomats.

In the 1970s, the Wallenberg family businesses employed 40% of Sweden's industrial workforce and represented 40% of the total worth of the Stockholm stock market.[1] In 1990, it was estimated that the family indirectly controlled one-third of the Swedish Gross National Product. [2]

The Wallenbergs are present in most large Swedish industrial corporations, like Ericsson, Electrolux, ABB, SAAB, SAS Group, SKF, Atlas Copco and more.

The Wallenbergs have a very low-key public profile, eschewing conspicuous displays of wealth. The family motto is Esse, non Videri (Latin for "To be, not to be seen"). Their power is used behind the scenes, and the family have had members on the Bilderberg Steering Committee, and several other attendees. In addition, a significant number of the Swedish and Scandinavian Bilderberg attendees have strong connections to the family companies.

The two overarching companies are the holding company Investor AB, which again owns the bank Skandinaviske Enskilda Banken (formerly Stockholmska Enskilda Banken).

The people companies and other entities around the Wallenberg family is commonly known as the Wallenberg Sphere

Full article: Stub class article Wallenberg Sphere

History

The Wallenberg Financial Empire was founded by André Oscar Wallenberg, who in 1856 started Stockholms Enskilda Bank, following the Scottish banking model, which is one of the forerunners of today's Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB).

Taking over the Ivar Kreuger Empire

During the 1920s, the Wallenberg sphere and the tycoon (the Match King') Ivar Kreuger were the main competitors for power in the Swedish business community. When Kreuger made his (last) request in February 1932 to the government Riksbanken for bank guarantees to keep his empire afloat, all the major Swedish commercial banks agreed to this, except for Stockholm's Enskilda Bank. After Kreuger was murdered or committed suicide in 1932, his business empire was declared bankrupt, and several of the Kreuger-controlled industrial companies were taken over by the Wallenberg sphere in a quick, decisive action, and these still form the core of the current holding.

The management and development of the remnants of the Ivar Kreuger empire fell on Marcus Wallenberg Sr., who dominated the Swedish business community for more than half a century. Together with Curt Nicolin, he secured the family's dominant position in Swedish business during and after WW2.

World War 2 Activities

During the War, the family was very busy. It conducted major business activities with the German government, had extensive ties to US/UK intelligence services, had ties to German resistance circles, served as middlemen for various peace feelers, and served as placeholders for big corporations to safeguard business assets in enemy countries.

Hiding Bosch Assets

Beginning in 1939, the family's bank, SEB, had acquired eight subsidiaries of the German corporation Bosch in neutral countries, including a majority of the shares in the American subsidiary, American Bosch Corporation, ABC. The business settlement was such that the parent company was granted the first right to purchase if the companies were to be resold. Bosch, in turn, Bosch gave the Wallenbergs a significant sum of money and other financial advantages. In practice, the Bosch Group came to have full control over the subsidiary through the business agreement.

SEB claimed that it owned ABC without reservation and that in the future it intended to sell this to Americans. At the same time, however, it was important to keep a sufficiently large proportion of shares to be able to satisfy the Bosch Group when the war was over. However, suspicion from the United States government remained high and in December 1941, the American Treasury Department, ATD, declared that ABC was not a purely Swedish company. SEB's American lawyers, including the later US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles from Sullivan & Cromwell , made it clear to SEB that it was necessary for Swedish authorities to certify that ABC was Swedish, otherwise it would be seized as a hostile entity.[3]

Marcus Wallenberg turned to the Swedish government and managed, after a meeting with, among others, the Minister of Finance Ernst Wigforss, the Chairman of the Riksbank's Council Dag Hammarskjöld and the Governor of the Riksbank Ivar Rooth, to get it to sign a memorandum, which had mainly been formulated by himself. The letter sent to Washington on January 13, 1942 did not contain any reference to Bosch having an option to buy back the company. The Treasury Department was informed here that the ABC shares were: "definitely bona fide Swedish and there exists no qualifying agreement undertakings or promises impairing this ownership". [4] Foreign Minister Christian Günther also made it clear to the US Secretary of State in Stockholm that he was sure that SEB did not hide anything. However, the efforts were in vain. On May 18, 1942, ABC was seized by the American Alien Property Custodian. At this time, none of these events came to light.

The bank's business was revealed on July 31, 1945, in an article in the New York Herald Tribune. US military investigators had meticulously searched Bosch's headquarters in Stuttgart and found hidden documents, with the help of which it was possible to trace the questioned ownership of ABC back to the parent company Bosch. On August 8, the Treasury Department declared that the Wallenberg brothers were personally blocked, "special blocked nationals", and that SEB should be blacklisted in all allied countries. The revelation led to the Wallenberg brothers and their collaborator Rolf Calissendorff being summoned to a committee hearing in Washington. The hearings lasted for periods throughout the autumn of 1945. During these, the SEB group had significant difficulties in defending itself against the accusations and the Americans' conclusion was that the bank had not only withheld the proper ownership but also, when asked about it, had lied. The interrogation protocol came to include 1261 typed pages.[5]

Marcus Wallenberg Jr. now took the initiative, which created a schism between him and his brother Jacob. In addition to the general memorandum requested by ATD, he wrote a personal private memorandum. This included an apology for the deal and an acknowledgment that it had been mishandled by the bank. He emphasized that his view of the relationship with Bosch differed from the others in the SEB group and stated, without Jacob Wallenberg's knowledge and agreement, that Jacob would soon resign from his post as CEO and then be replaced by Marcus himself.

Marcus Wallenberg's decisive actions and his close friendship with the English Minister in Stockholm, Victor Mallet, may have contributed to a positive effect for the bank. When the Allied Blacklisting Group met in May 1946, the British called for a restrained reaction against the SEB group, and although it was pointed out that the Wallenberg brothers deserved to be blacklisted, it was decided not to recommend this.

The Bosch deal was not over until 1950. In 1947, the SEB group sued Alien Property Custodian with a claim to get their assets back. After a lengthy process with negative publicity and the end of which could not be seen, SEB in 1950 accepted a settlement, which meant that it would receive 2.6 million USD, which corresponded to only a third of ABC's then value.

The Bosch deal was a clear financial loss for SEB. By far the biggest loss, however, was the negative effects on the bank's and the Wallenberg brothers' reputation in Sweden and internationally. In the American press, they were associated with Nazi Germany for a number of years.

After World War 2

The Wallenbergs were highly active in the Bilderberg conferences from the beginning. And not only family members participated and joined the Steering Commitee, but also senior management in their companies were sent there. Complicating the measuring of the true impact, is that a large part of the Swedish business-world and society in one way or the other dependent on the Wallenbergs.

After Marcus Wallenberg Jr.'s death in 1982, a power vacuum arose within the leadership. His eldest son Marc had committed suicide in 1971 and the younger son Peter, who not considered fit by the father to hold leading position in the empire.

Thereafter, the management of the empire ended up in practice with officials within Investor AB. In practice, however, Peter Wallenberg took command of the holdings during the 1980s and significantly increased the assets. He died in 2015, but the sons Jacob (born 1956) and Peter jr. (born 1959) and their cousin, Marc's son Marcus (born 1956) now (2020) run the business.

Raoul Wallenberg

Another famous Wallenberg, Raoul Wallenberg, worked as a diplomat (and possibly for intelligence services[citation needed]) in Budapest, Hungary, during World War II where he between July and December 1944 issued protective passports and housed Jews, saving tens of thousands of lives.

The Saltsjöbaden Agreement

The Saltsjöbaden Agreement (Swedish: Saltsjöbadsavtalet) is a Swedish labour market treaty signed between the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (Swedish: Landsorganisationen, LO) and the Swedish Employers Association (Swedish: Svenska arbetsgivareföreningen, SAF) on 20 December 1938[6], that became a model for other agreements. The rules on industrial action have come to be regarded almost as general legal principles of conflicts between the labor market forces, containing a prominent role of collective agreements (regulation by the labor market parties themselves) and a climate of co-operation between employers and workers organizations. The agreement is still in effect, with the latest changes being made in 1976.

The agreement was signed in the family's Grand Hotel Saltsjöbaden, thus giving the family's - which owns most of Swedish industry - imprimatur to the agreement.

Full article: Jacob Wallenberg
Full article: Marcus Wallenberg Sr.
Full article: Marcus Wallenberg Jr.
Full article: Marcus Wallenberg (born 1956)
Full article: Stub class article Peter Wallenberg
Full article: Stub class article Knut Agathon Wallenberg
Full article: Raoul Wallenberg
Full article: Marc Wallenberg


 

Examples

Page nameDescription
Marcus Wallenberg Jr
Stockholm School of EconomicsSwedish business school mostly funded by the Wallenebergs
Marc "Boy-boy" WallenbergWallenberger who killed himself after family intrigues

 

Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
File:Anonymous-Operation Want.pdfreport2 April 2011A report into the finances of the Wallenberg family as they relate to a proposal to create an additional seat on the NASDAQ OMX Group Board of Directors which is currently (2 April 2011) awaiting SEC approval.
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References