Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Anglo Austrian Bank faces liquidation following money laundering allegations

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Austrian lender Anglo Austrian Bank (AAB) shall be liquidated following the decision by the European Central Bank (ECB) to revoke its banking licence, local media reported Wednesday.

The ECB withdrew AAB’s trading license following revelations of irregularities in their banking business in a 44-page report to the Austrian financial regulator last week.

Formerly known as Meinl Bank and founded in 1923, the AAB was part of an Austrian coffee importing empire and supermarket chain owned by the family of Julius Meinl V, who was also the chairman of the AAB board until last year, according to Viennese daily Der Kurier.

Following the ECB decision, a report was released by the Austrian broadcaster ORF’s business reporting team, the Viennese weekly Profil and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), according to which, AAB laundered approximately 500 million euros (554 million U.S. dollars) for financial entities on the brink of failure in Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine between 2011 and 2015.

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Since Monday, customers have rushed to withdraw their deposits, leading to queues around the bank’s headquarters in the center of Vienna.

The decision to withdraw the AAB’s trading license is considered unique. This is the first time after World War Two that an Austrian bank is accused of being too lax in the supervision of its transactions, according to the ORF and Profil.

AAB’s two-member board resigned on Tuesday and the bank was put under state supervision for the liquidation of its assets starting on Wednesday, according to Der Kurier.

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