Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cave-dwelling Brothers are Billionaires

UPDATE: Usually when a story like this comes up - you find something on the Web to support it after the fact. I recently did a search and could not find any follow up stories to this fanciful tale. Wondering if they actually found the documents or were able to have DNA testing to secure the inheritance. Or was it a hoax? Post in the comments if you find anything in your own research.

What a crazy story. Two brothers, Zsolt and Geza Peladi, living in a cave on the outskirts of Budapest, are in line to inherit a cool 2 billion each from their long-lost grandmother. According to United Press International, the two men knew their mother came from a wealthy family but, according to Geza Peladi, "she was a difficult person and severed ties with them, and then later abandoned us and we lost touch with her and our father until she eventually died." The brothers got by selling scrap metal.

But who was the grandmother? Take a look at Forbes Millionaires list and the only profile that fits as not having any family is Liliane Bettencourt, the principal shareholder of L'Oreal and the wealthiest woman in Europe. She is estranged from her daughter, is of ill health, has ties to Germany, but has French citizenship.

The Daily Telegraph (Britian) reported that the Zsolt and Geza's grandmother recently died in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. This is the same region where German billionaire Adolf Merckle hails from. Merckle committed suicide after his fortunes evaporated with risky bets on the share price of Volkswagen. Merckle's empire ranged from pharmaceuticals to cement. But he is survived by three sons and a daughter.

Geza is said to be 43 years old, birth year around 1966.

Merckle's family came from the Sudetenland. In 1945, after the end of World War II, the Potsdam Conference and creation of Czechoslovakia - Germans were forced to leave their homes in Sudetenland. According to Wiki, the Sudetenland was resettled by many Czechoslovakians, including many Hungarians. But these Hungarians were forced into the resettlement and later returned home. Many of the returning Hungarians ran into conflicts over the ownership of their original homes, since Slovak colonists filled the void and took over the vacant property.

"Born in 1934, Merckle fled in 1945 with his family to Blaubeuren, a city with about 12,000 people in southwestern Germany, from the Sudetenland, the historical border region of the Czech Republic long inhabited by ethnic Germans and seized by the Nazis in September 1938."

Why would these men be homeless - with no property? According to Virtual Tourist, Budapest has well over 200 caves located under the city, more than any other capital in the world. The remarkable hydrothermal caves were formed from thermal springs. The 25 km long Baradla cave in the Aggtelek National Park, outside of Budapest, has "the morphological diversity, richness of formations, characteristic fauna, as well as archaeological and historical value, make this cave system one of the most complex underground karstic phenomena in the world."

"The people who were dwelling in darkness have seen a brilliant light." - Matthew 4:16

These two men living "Underground" have been thrown into the limelight. Now if we can just find that crevice where we hid mom's birth certificate ...