German Billionaire Kills Himself

Add one of Germany’s wealthiest businessmen to the growing list of victims of the financial crisis. Billionaire Adolf Merckle, 74, head of a conglomerate that includes the Ratiopharm group and HeidelbergCement, threw himself in front of a train last night in southwest Germany. Said to be worth 7 billion euros, Merckle was despondent over the impending demise of his pharmaceutical empire and losing hundreds of millions of euros through risky VW share trading. “The economic distress in his companies as the result of the financial crisis and the associated uncertainties of the last weeks, as well as his sense of impotence at no longer being able to act, destroyed this passionate family entrepreneur, and he ended his life,” his family said in a statement.