| Charles-Victor Bracht |
(businessman, Belgian nobility)
|Born||7 January, 1915|
|Died||7 March, 1978 (Age 63)|
Cause of death
|Spouse||Geneviève de Hemptinne|
Baron Charles-Victor Bracht was a Belgian businessman who became nationally known in 1978 after he was kidnapped and murdered.
Bracht came from a German noble family. He held a prominent position in numerous Antwerp firms and holdings, specializing in insurance (NV Bracht-Aegis), banking (Metropolitan Bank), real estate, rubber plantations (SIPEF), leather trade and wool. He was also honorary consul of Austria. His remains were interred in the monumental family grave of the Bracht family at the Schoonselhof in Antwerp.
The Bracht family is a wealthy family that does business all over the world and has friends in the highest aristocratic circles. The baron went hunting with the Dutch Prince Bernhard and was also friends with the Belgian royal family. For many years, the Bracht family, which shuns publicity, was the main shareholder of the rubber and tropical products plantation holding company SIPEF.
On March 7, 1978, Bracht was kidnapped in an Antwerp parking garage by marine electrician Marcel “Dexter” Van Tongelen. He demanded a ransom in exchange for the baron's release, but the detectives recognized Van Tongelen's voice because he had previously been a police informant.
Because Van Tongelen could not prove that Bracht was still alive, the richest family in Belgium paid no ransom.
On April 10, 1978, Bracht was found murdered in a dump in Oelegem. Van Tongelen was arrested and on February 29, 1980 sentenced to death by the Antwerp court of (which was automatically commuted to life imprisonment under Belgian law at the time). During interrogations, the hostage-taker insisted that he had accidentally killed the Baron after only two minutes because Bracht resisted vigorously when pulling off a hood. In 1991, after serving a 13-year prison sentence, Van Tongelen was released and disappeared into anonymity.