|Countess on the run|
|Written by Floris Steenkamp|
|Thursday, 10 November 2011 00:05|
Law enforcement discovered to their disbelief this week that Countess Ludmilla Maria von Korf appears to have fled Namibia to her home country Germany, despite the fact that her travel documents were confiscated after her arrest on a charge of credit card fraud on 21 October. |
Indications are that von Korf, possibly assisted by a number of friends, emptied her house in the capital’s Klein Windhoek suburb over the weekend and caught a flight to Germany on Monday. Neighbours saw people loading items from her home on Sunday, and a domestic worker found the von Korf residence empty on Tuesday.
The countess also appears to have used her credit card at Hosea Kutako International Airport on Monday.Von Korf’s landlord tried to phone her cell phone the same evening and the ringing tone apparently sounded like an overseas call. Von Korf has neither paid her rent for November, nor settled her accounts with the City of Windhoek. The landlord in the meantime established a close friend of von Korf, Susanne Hoff, may know more about the Countess’s wherabouts. Informanté tried twice to contact Hoff and left messages with her secretary who promised that Hoff would return the calls. This has not happened.
Von Korf, who is related to the British Royal Family as a cousin to Prince Charles, lived in Namibia for several years and was married to Walvis Bay businessman Hans Jörg Möller. In the run-up to the couple’s divorce in 2009 von Korf allegedly stripped the co-owned business Catamaran Charters CC of N$121,000. She is further accused of having unlawfully used her ex-husband’s credit card to purchase fuel several months after their divorce.
The charges landed von Korf in trouble and she was eventually arrested on 21 October. She was released on N$1,000 bail and supposed to reappear in the Windhoek Magistrates court on a charge of fraud on 14 December. The magistrate did not impose any bail conditions on von Korf apart from impounding her passport and the condition to inform the investigating officer should she wish to leave the district of Windhoek or the country.
Von Korf’s ex husband Möller also instituted civil proceedings against the Countess to recover some of the monies she allegedly stole from the company. Von Korf suffered several defeats in court and was ordered to pay Möller’s legal costs by 30 November for a failed High Court application earlier this year. Failing to pay, the judge ordered he will also give judgment that von Korf pay Möller the N$121,000 he is claiming from her and for her to foot his entire legal bill.
With the whole affair costing her roughly half a million dollars as well as the criminal proceedings pending, von Korf is believed to have fled Namibia for good.
Authorities are puzzled as neither the surname von Korf, nor her maiden name Sternberg or Möller appear on any immigration list. The Countess, however, is nowhere to be found and a senior investigator confirmed yesterday that they have little doubt that she is overseas, judged by the ringing tone of her cell phone which differs from making a national call. Informanté also attempted to phone von Korf’s number – to no avail.