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Rescue teams search for German retail magnate missing in Alps

FILE PHOTO: Karl-Erivan, Georg and Christian Haub of the retailer group Tengelmann pose for photographers in the western town of Muelheim, Germany, August 20, 2009. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender/File Photo


ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss and Italian police continued their search on Wednesday for German retail magnate Karl-Erivan Haub who has been missing since Saturday when he failed to return from an off-piste skiing tour in the Alps.

The 58-year-old Haub, whose family is among Germany's wealthiest, has run the Tengelmann group since 2000. The company owns the OBI home improvement chain and KiK fashion discounter.

A Swiss police spokesman in the canton of Valais said that rescue teams were deployed on both sides of the Swiss-Italian border.

"He still hasn't been found. The search is restarting today," said Luca Bulgarelli at the Alpine rescuers' office in nearby Aosta in Italy.

"The weather is bad. There are clouds, but it's not windy," Bulgarelli added.

A Tengelmann spokeswoman said on Wednesday there were no new findings regarding the whereabouts of the manager.

The Handelsblatt business daily cited a letter to Tengelmann employees from his brother Christian saying the family had not given up hope, noting that Karl-Erivan was a very experienced skier and mountaineer.

Switzerland's Blick newspaper said the family had alerted Swiss authorities after Haub had failed to return to his hotel in the resort of Zermatt after he set off from a lift on the Matterhorn mountain on Saturday morning.

Karl-Erivan Haub is the fifth generation of the family to run the business which was founded in 1867 as an importer of coffee and tea.

Haub's father, Erivan Haub, died last month on his ranch in Wyoming. Forbes magazine estimated his fortune at $6.4 billion.

(Reporting by Oliver Hirt in Zurich and Steve Scherer in Rome; Writing by Michael Nienaber in Berlin; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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