“I want to be able to redistribute at least 90%, preferably through taxes,” Engelhorn told the daily Ara
At the beginning of August, Marlene Engelhorn made headlines in several portals around the world that echoed the news that the heiress of the multinational BASF was not interested in her fortune and would reject the inheritance. The statement, however, is not true, according to her, who denied the reports in an interview with the Spanish newspaper Ara.
After the repercussion of the case, Engelhorn clarified the matter. The first point made clear is that the billionaire is actually a millionaire. The €4 billion fortune attributed to her belongs to her grandmother Traudl Engelhorn. The matriarch ranks 649th in the Forbes ranking, with an estimated net worth of US$4.2 billion (R$21.8 billion).
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The second topic is about the refusal of inheritance. Marlene stated that she is interested, yes, in receiving her share of the fortune. What she wants is to redistribute most of the value. To the daily Ara, the BASF heiress stated the following:
“I will inherit a double-digit sum in millions of euros, and I will not refuse it. I want to be able to redistribute at least 90%, preferably through taxes. If I can’t do that, I’ll find my own way,” she said.
Marlene Engelhorn is a descendant of Friedrich Engelhorn, a German who in 1865 founded the chemical company Basf. For Ara, the heiress stated that a turning point in her life was when her family explained to her about her inheritance and the size of the estate she would one day inherit. “I knew I was rich. (…) I didn’t want that money, it didn’t seem fair”, she told the Spanish newspaper.
Creation of the “Tax Me Now” campaign
In February 2021, the BASF heiress reached out to other super-wealthy people who were uncomfortable with not paying inheritance taxes on the estate they were entitled to. In Marlene’s country, Austria, there is no inheritance tax and no estate tax.
In all, 60 people responded to the heiress and from there the “Tax Me Now” organization emerged, a movement that calls for greater taxation of millionaires and billionaires to redistribute wealth more fairly in countries.
Marlene is also part of the “Resource Generation” project, an organization that targets young people between the ages of 18 and 35 who will inherit large fortunes. The purpose of the project is to talk about the redistribution of wealth.
“The rich are used to justifying that they already have philanthropic foundations, but the States should receive the money. We don’t have to wait for a rich person to make a donation, this cannot replace public spending or true democratic redistribution,” Marlene told Ara.
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