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Deutsche Bank spied on shareholders

Deutsche Bank spied on shareholders critical of the bank’s management, the spouse of one of the company’s directors and workers’ representatives, the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported Saturday.

Deutsche Bank spied on shareholders
Photo: DPA

Without citing sources, the newspaper said the bank eavesdropped on the surveillance targets and tracked their movements. The bank, citing an ongoing investigation by Bafin, the federal banking regulator, did not comment on the affair.

Earlier last week, allegations emerged that the bank had spied on employees. This latest report suggests the program was far larger than first reported, contradicting a statement by Deutsche Bank chief executive Josef Ackermann on Tuesday that an investigation would probably not reveal “systematic malpractice.”

Leo Kirch, the Munich media mogul, said Friday he was “bewildered, but not surprised” by the affair.

Renate Hillenbrand-Beck, who heads the Hessian Office of Data Protection, has demanded a report on the allegations from the bank.

The Deutsche Bank surveillance affair is the latest in a string of similar scandals to rock the German corporate establishment.

Hartmut Mehdorn, the former head of national railway operator Deutsche Bahn, was forced from the company earlier this year after a series of spying scandals. Deutsche Telekom also spied on workers, journalists and board members. Last year, retailer Lidl was caught making extensive dossiers about the personal lives of store employees.

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MONEY

Where in Germany do people have the highest disposable income?

An economic study has shown huge regional differences in income throughout Germany. So which parts of the country have the most to spend each month, and which are feeling the squeeze?

Where in Germany do people have the highest disposable income?

A study by the Economic and Social Sciences Institute (WSI) of the Hans-Böckler foundation reveals stark regional differences in disposable income in Germany. In some cases, households had as much as double the spending money of those in other parts of the country. 

Here’s where people have the most – and least – disposable income each month.

What is disposable income?

The WSI calculated disposable income as the sum of income from wealth and employment, minus social contributions, income taxes, property taxes and other direct benefits or taxes.

What’s left is the income which private households can either spend on consumer goods or save.

The study, which was based on the most recent available national accounts data for 2019, looked at the disposable income of all of the 401 counties, districts and cities across Germany.

Which regions have the highest and lowest disposable incomes?

The study found that the regions with the highest disposable incomes were in the southern states.

Heilbronn in Baden-Württemberg had the highest disposable income of all 401 German counties and independent cities – with an average per capita disposable income of €42,275. The district of Starnberg in Bayern followed in second place with €38,509.

READ ALSO: REVEALED: How much do employees really earn across Germany’s states?

By comparison, per capita incomes in the cities of Gelsenkirchen and Duisburg in North Rhine-Westphalia were less than half as high, at €17,015 and €17,741 respectively. These regions had the lowest disposable income in the country. 

The study also found that, more than thirty years since German reunification, the eastern regions continue to lag behind those in the west in terms of wages.

According to the WSI, the Potsdam-Mittelmark district is the only district in the former east where the disposable per capita income of €24,127 exceeds the national average of €23,706.

Do regional price differences balance things out?

The study also showed that regionally different price levels contribute to a certain levelling out of disposable incomes, as regions with high incomes also tend to have higher rents and other living costs.

“People then have more money in their wallets, but they cannot afford more to the same extent,” WSI scientist Toralf Pusch explained.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: When will Germany raise the minimum wage?

Therefore, incomes in the eastern states, adjusted for purchasing power, are generally somewhat higher than the per capita amounts would suggest.

That could explain why, even after price adjustment, the cities of Gelsenkirchen and Duisburg in western Germany continue to be at the very bottom of the list.

Saxon-Anhalt’s Halle an der Saale, on the other hand, which has an average disposable income of only €18,527, benefits from the lower prices in the east.

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