Czech billionaire killed in Alaska helicopter crash | News | DW | 29.03.2021

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Czech billionaire killed in Alaska helicopter crash

Petr Kellner and four others died on a heli-skiing trip in Alaska. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

PPF's main shareholder is the richest Czech Petr Kellner watches as his daughter Anna Kellnerova and horse Catch Me If You Can Old compete during the equestrian CET Prague Cup

Petr Kellner, 56, was the Czech Republic's richest man

The Czech Republic's richest man, Petr Kellner, has died in a helicopter crash in Alaska, his financial group PPF said on Monday.

"We announce with the deepest grief that, in a helicopter accident in Alaska mountains on Saturday, March 27, the founder and majority owner of the PPF group, Mr Petr Kellner, died tragically," PPF said in a statement.

Alaska State Troopers said that the crash occurred near Knik Glacier northeast of Anchorage. The causes of the crash are still being investigated, according to PPF. 

Czech billionaire Petre Kellner sitting in front of a fire with his hand clasped together.

Petr Kellner started his business in the Czech Republic's post communist era

Who was Petr Kellner?

The 56-year-old was a towering figure of the Czech post-communist era and came in at number 68 of Forbes 2020 billionaires, with a net worth of $17.5 billion (€14.8 billion).

Kellner started his business selling copy machines. After the fall of communism in the former Czechoslovakia, he founded the investment fund PPF in 1991, which he used to buy a controlling stake in the biggest Czech insurer during its privatization. 

The investment funds went on to grow in many fields including finance, telecommunications, manufacturing, media and biotech in businesses spanning mainly Europe, Asia and the US. 

He was married with four children.

jm/rt (AFP, Reuters)