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Irish banker in Austria with two wives

An Irish banker who worked for the World Bank in Vienna is being investigated by Austrian police after he was found to have two wives and children with both when he died suddenly, apparently of a natural death.

His Irish wife Linda Coughlan, 47, said she had only found out about her husband's death when she called to speak to him and was told by the receptionist at the bank that he had died.

"I was told police had been to the apartment after he didn't turn up for work. They found him there, he was dead," she said.

"I was then put through to someone who identified himself as Alex Fawcett who refused to believe I was his wife, and told me to my shock that actually his wife had already been informed. I tried to insist but he basically seemed to regard me as a crank and told me not to call again."

Linda, who lives in Limerick, has two children with banker Liam Coughlan, 51, and admitted that the couple were estranged but said that despite the difficulties he had not wanted a divorce.

Austrian police are looking into speculation that he had tried to stop the divorce because he had not wanted to give his wife in Ireland half of the fortune he had earned as a senior banker with the international financial organisation.

He had reportedly been married for several years to his second wife, and the couple then had a daughter together, saying nothing about it to Linda who still received monthly payments.

Linda, who relied on that payment to pay the rent and is now facing the threat of being unable to pay her bills and eviction, was in tears when she told the local newspaper that everyone who she spoke to in Vienna had refused to accept that she was really his wife, in particular staff at the World Bank who had treated her like a crank.

She told local newspaper Heute: "In his office no-one believed me, they all said they knew his wife, and it wasn't me. He apparently never mentioned me."

Vienna police confirmed that after the death they had contacted the 51-year-old's new wife, apparently aged 31, who also lives in Ireland, to break the news. They said the fact that he had a second wife had not been known, and they were now investigating.

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