In an interview with Austrian daily “Standard“ forensic expert of nationlized Hypo Group Christian Böhler revealed that former managers of the bank enriched themselves personally.
According to Böhler, investigations will continue for two to three more years. So far, the Hypo Group’s forensic department has analyzed 1,100 cases and filed around one hundred notifications. The estimated financial impact is estimated at around one billion Euros.
After the war on Balkan, Hypo Group expanded rapidly in South Eastern Europe. “There the bank has often cooperated with extremely dangerous criminals, secret service agents, militarists as well with high-ranking and highly corrupt politicians,” Böhler explained the former business policy of Hypo Group. “Small provincial bankers, who lay down in the same bed with such people, have to expect problems,” was his figurative comment.
According to the current state of investigations, the bank in South Eastern Europe has bribed officials so that the financial market authorities will not step in. Böhler announced that the former managers only intended “making money, increase turnover and cash in bonuses” while sustainability in investments was only second-rated. “They invested millions in piles of stones and those piles of stones are still piles of stones,” he said. “I couldn’t care less-capitalism plus greed plus criminal energy: That was Hypo,” according to Böhler pointing out that those former managers “misused the banking system for their personal criminal activities and now employees and taxpayers have to atone for it.” In regard to the investigative results, the foresic department is currently trying to identify the profiteers of the deals. “In most cases a handful bank managers have used numerous straw men on the customer side and systematically transferred money from they the bank,” he said while pointing out that Liechtenstein played a significant role for money laundering. “Liechtenstein was a washing machine for black money and an institution for covering cash flows. Millions were withdrawn in cash and deposited at another bank account in the next moment,” the forensic expert described the tactics. “The bankers needed the money to bribe someone or to enrich themselves. Generally, there were councellors involved, who rendered fake accounts for concealments.”
So far, the forensic department of Hypo has examined around 1,700 names and bank accounts in Liechtenstein. According to Böhler, ere are around 300 bank accounts matching the criminal offences.
The future of Hypo Group is still unclear as decisions about the future of problem bank Hypo Alpe Adria will in all likelihood be delayed. Klaus Liebscher, head of Hypo Group’s task force which was appointed by the Austrian government, expects a result about the future of the problem bank to be presented in two to three weeks. Initially the options were supposed to be presented in October. Liebscher is hoping for a final decision about the further course of action to be taken before the end of this year.
In a radio interview, Karl Sevelda, CEO of Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), announced that he regards a particpation of his bank as possible. Under certain circumstances Sevelda did not exclude the participation in a possible bad bank for Hypo Alpe Adria. “The offsetting trade would be a reduction of other charges since this [bad bank for Hypo] would already be one.”