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The Paper of Record: Vienna Youth Loses Millions at Baccarat; Julius von Szemso, 'Social Vampire,' Arrested

Submitted by ep on Fri, 11/25/2016 - 19:14

Vienna, Dec. 9.--One of Vienna's most debonnair social vampires was arrested today in the person of Julius von Szemso, a Hungarian aristocrat, aged 39. He has been in contact with the police on previous occasions, but his arrest is made this time on the charge that at a game of baccarat in his private house he and his brother won no less than 28,000,000 kroner, or nominally more than $5,000,000, from a young Viennese aged 21, whose name has not been disclosed.

It seems that the two Szemso brothers were nearing the end of their financial resources, despite their ostentatious life, and resorted to shearing this young lamb, who is the son of a rich manufacturer. They invited him to the house of Julius for a social evening, but the young innocent found only the two brothers present. They proposed a game of baccarat and stipulated that though they played for kroner the losses should be paid in some foreign currency, dinars being ultimately agreed upon. A dinar is a Serbian coin, twenty-five of which in peacetime equal about $5.

At the end of two hours' play the young innocent found to his horror that he had lost 28,000,000 kroner and was obliged to sign seven bills of exchange for 2,000,000 dinars, this, it was said, being the converted value. In case of trouble with the police the sum was stated on the bills to be in consideration of a loan of 28,000,000 kroner received from Szemso. Even here, however, the young innocent has been swindled. Seems having calculated the dinars at twice the rate of exchange prevailing.

Julius Szemso is well known in certain strata of society as "the man with the yellow gloves," owing to his habit of wearing such gloves when playing cards at various clubs. He lives in a house called the Palais Szemso, where he keeps a large establishment of servants, six motor cars, seven race horses and two milch cows, these being considered of a rarity here nowadays. His adventures have long been a subject of conversation.

He has been previously arrested for engaging in what is known as valuta smuggling, or smuggling currency across the frontier, and for having illegally stamped Austrian kroner notes so as to give them a higher value. Similar charges were also preferred against him in Budapest.

His matrimonial affairs are in keeping with his general conduct. He has had many matrimonial adventures, and not long ago his prevent wife caused some diversion in a fashionable restaurant here by throwing vitriol in the face of a married lady of whom she thought she had grounds for jealousy.

[Copyright, 1920, by The New York Times Company via Special Cable to The New York Times]

[Art Credit: Stanley Kubrick "Barry Lyndon," film (1975), from the author's private video collection. ]

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