Austrian banks cash in on regulatory reforms

Published: February 1, 2017

The Austrian banking sector has witnessed a number of controversial events since 2008, emanating not only from the financial and eurozone crises, but also the suspicious activities of individual bankers.

In 2009, Julius Meinl V, chairman of Meinl Bank, which focuses on wealth management and investment banking, was arrested as part of an investigation into the defrauding of investors through secretive share buybacks.

This centred on Meinl Land, a real estate firm owned by Meinl Bank, buying €1.8bn worth of its own shares to prop up its own share price before it collapsed. Meinl was released on a record bailout that was later reduced, and has not been charged.

Then in 2013, Sberbank, the largest Russian banking group, filed a lawsuit against Oesterreichische Volksbanken at the International Court of Arbitration, claiming that central, eastern and southeastern (CESEE) affiliates it acquired from the latter, had been over-priced. This complaint was later withdrawn.

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