Sonja Kohn, the feisty redheaded 60-year-old behind Austria’s Bank Medici, scored around $2 billion for Bernie Madoff in Europe. Now, she’s reportedly so terrified of the Russian oligarchs whose cash she lost that she’s gone into hiding.
Kohn’s an interesting lady. According to the Times and the FT, she was born in Vienna and lived in Switzerland and Milan. She came to New York in the eighties, where she converted to Orthodox Judaism, founded and headed Eurovaleur, a small brokerage firm, and made the acquaintance of one Bernard Madoff, whose scam she’s been flogging all over Europe ever since.
Curtis J. Hoxter, a veteran New York–based communications adviser who has worked with Bank Austria and met Mrs. Kohn frequently in Manhattan said, “She has a very aggressive personality and wouldn’t take no for an answer.” He added, “She was overwhelming.”
Despite her New York attitude, Kohn clearly found her place in Austria. In fact, just this past summer, she praised regulators for having created a “common-sense environment,” as she told the FT. “Here you are not guilty until you are found guilty, which is really not typical of what you find everywhere else.” Such as, we guess, Russia.
Austria’s ‘Woman on Wall St.’ Now Out of Sight [NYT]
Push to Put Vienna on the Finance Map [FT]