• Germany's news in English
 

Banks block Iranian students' accounts

The Local · 19 Feb 2013, 14:37

Published: 19 Feb 2013 14:37 GMT+01:00

The website of Der Spiegel magazine reported on Monday that affected customers received letters from their banks notifying them of the imminent closure of their accounts. No reason for the decision was given.

"Since November 2012 the number of complaints about blocked accounts and denied applications has risen substantially. Hundreds of Iranians have been affected," said Lutz Bucklitsch from a Berlin-based Iranian refugee organisation.

Some of the accounts had balances exceeding €1,000. Holders were notified by post that they could either withdraw the balance in cash or transfer it to another institution.

Although the banks in question have declined to reveal the reasons for their course of action, insisting on banking confidentiality, Sparkasse and Giroverband have pointed to international sanctions against Iran implemented in response to its controversial nuclear programme. The measures have drastically reduced German business ties with the country.

The sanctions have been in place since 2007 and alongside businesses they have affected particular individuals within Iran. Those who do not appear on the blacklist, however, should be allowed to continue managing their private financial affairs without hindrance.

"Due to increased pressure from trading partners in the USA, German banks have been gradually shutting Iranian customers out," Bucklitsch told Der Spiegel. "From the American point of view, no business should have anything to do with Iran."

The rash of account closures has even reportedly sparked the German government to contact the banks. Emily Haber, a German Foreign Office official, informed the institutions by letter that their moves to block Iranian citizens' accounts had no legal basis. She has called for "a fresh audit into account management and new openings."

The Local/mjl

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

04:51 February 20, 2013 by AmericanMade
Wrong, wrong, wrong. I am ashamed on so many levels.
07:50 February 20, 2013 by lucksi
Some people even had balances exceeding 1k? Man, with that kind of money, they must be here to buy stuff for the nuke reactors.

Remember, you too can save a nuclear program in another country for just one Euro a day.
08:32 February 20, 2013 by murka
Aren't these two different things:

1) a legal resident who happens to have Iranian passport, and

2) the Iranian government?

Either there is a missing bit, or the bank ppl are a bunch of morons.
12:37 February 20, 2013 by TheWonderer
Unfortunately, these days there is a lot of money washing the "little by little" way.

So they are afraid to do the wrong thing - but hit the wrong folks.

That is sad, but it also happens in lots of other cases were you have to prove the origin of the money you paid onto your account.

TheWonderer
13:30 February 20, 2013 by sonriete
It's like punishing the son for the sins of the father.
18:27 February 22, 2013 by raandy
Blocking accounts only because the person is Iranian is despicable, these people need their funds to survive as many are students.I would assume that they are funded through these accounts and the closing of them will be a hardship.

Wondrerer its "money laundering"
17:29 February 23, 2013 by yuri_nahl
It seems like Germany is becoming a poodle country. I seem to recall, only the western countries have repeatedly tried to overthrow Iran since 1900 in order to steal their oil. Try opening a history book.
Today's headlines
Footballers gone wild
Neuer's 'glass palace' angers idyllic village
Tegernsee is a famous beauty sport. Photo: DPA

Neuer's 'glass palace' angers idyllic village

2 hours ago

Villagers in the picturesque Bavarian region of Tegernsee are bristling at World Cup-winning Germany goalkeeper and Bayern Munich star Manuel Neuer's plan to build a huge glass villa on the shores of their beautiful lake.

Interview
'Berlin is kind of like the best American city'
Canadian composer and performer Owen Pallett. Photo: Brian Vu

'Berlin is kind of like the best American city'

2 hours ago

The Local speaks with Oscar-nominated Canadian musician Owen Pallett about performing at legendary Berlin club Berghain - and just why the world's artists are so fascinated with the German capital.

Germany name squad for crunch Scotland match
Liverpool's Emre can has been called up to the Germany squad to face Scotland and Poland. Photo: DPA

Germany name squad for crunch Scotland match

4 hours ago

Liverpool's uncapped defender Emre Can was on Friday called up to the Germany squad for the world champions' forthcoming key Euro 2016 qualifiers against Poland and Scotland.

How Brits in Germany are facing Brexit fears
How will life for Brits in Germany change if the Brexit happens? Photo: DPA

How Brits in Germany are facing Brexit fears

6 hours ago

Greece is the talk of the town this year. But in 2016, it will be Britain questioning its EU membership. The referendum outcome could be life altering for many Brits living in Germany.

Honest senior rewarded for handing in €12,000
An 87-year-old pensioner found the cash in the bin. Photo: DPA

Honest senior rewarded for handing in €12,000

4 hours ago

After throwing away €12,000 this week, a landlord in North Rhine-Westfalia thought he'd made one of the most expensive blunders of his life. But the money made it home safely, police said on Friday – and all thanks to an honest pensioner.

Refugee party against far-right CAN go ahead
Anti-refugee demonstrators carry a sign accusing Chancellor Angela Merkel of being a "traitor to the nation" this week in Heidenau. Photo: DPA

Refugee party against far-right CAN go ahead

8 hours ago

Update: A court in Dresden has ruled that refugees and their supporters can go ahead with a party to demonstrate against this week's displays of far-right hatred in Heidenau.

Elite cops' hazing ritual: eat ice cream off thighs
A Cologne SEK unit on deployment in 2013. Photo: DPA

Elite cops' hazing ritual: eat ice cream off thighs

7 hours ago

Officers from Cologne's elite Spezialeinsatzkommando (SEK) police unit should be punished for hazing practices they inflicted on new members, an official in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) said on Thursday.

Knut autopsy could help human disease sufferers
Knut died in front of visitors at Berlin Zoo in 2011. Photo: DPA

Knut autopsy could help human disease sufferers

8 hours ago

Four years after Berlin's celebrity polar bear Knut died, a neuroscientist has discovered the cause of death - an autoimmune disorder which affected his brain.

Army buys in new guns to replace defective G36
A German soldier armed with a G36 rifle during training exercises in Poland. Photo: DPA

Army buys in new guns to replace defective G36

9 hours ago

Some German soldiers will be carrying different weapons within a year as the Defence Ministry scrambles to replace standard rifle which loses accuracy under hot temperatures.

Climate change
Sweltering summer has climatologists sweating
Dried out soil in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Sweltering summer has climatologists sweating

9 hours ago

Heat over 40 degrees, weeks without rain, sudden storms and flash floods – in the summer of 2015 Germany experienced all these things. Are these extremes set to become the norm?

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

National
Weekend of anti-refugee violence shocks Germany
National
Half of Germans 'have had sex in their car'
Society
Deadly stew spooks home vegetable gardeners
Politics
The man who brought two Germanies together
Features
Where to get your culture fix in Cologne
Education
Fairytale world of Brothers Grimm brought to life
Rhineland
Thieves leave 1,000 open beers untasted
National
Way to some Germans' hearts is through their wallets
National
Germany's biggest challenge: European refugee crisis
Travel
Where to get your adrenaline pumping in Germany
Technology
Could thieves hack into luxury cars?
What to watch out for when snapping your lunch
National
German lefties through history
National
The fight over prostitution heats up
National
Merkel: migrants, not Greece, are the real challenge
Features
How I explained the Queen to the Germans
Education
Why Germany does 'back-to-school' traditions better
National
Germans are ‘not how foreigners think’
National
A mum and daughter reunite 70 years after WWII
Sport
Bra stops bullet in hunting mishap miracle
National
Cows trample German woman to death in Graubünden Alps
Business & Money
Start-up helps new Berliners short cut bureaucracy
National
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after the Second World War
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,117
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd