Hamburg bank must repay customer’s Lehman loss

A retired teacher who lost €10,000 when the US investment bank Lehman Brothers went bust last year has succeeded in forcing the Hamburg bank which sold him the bond, to pay him the money in full.

Hamburg bank must repay customer's Lehman loss
Bernd Krupsky won compensation. Photo: DPA

The Hamburger Sparkasse (Haspa) said it would appeal the decision handed down by the Hamburg District Court on Tuesday – which was greeted by applause in the public gallery, according to a report in the Financial Times Deutschland

Bernd Krupsky, a 64-year-old former teacher, said the investment advice he received from the Haspa in 2006 was wrong on two points, and that he would not have bought the Lehman certificates otherwise.

A Haspa spokeswoman said the court had, “written retrospective obligations for banks, which did not previously exist.”

The court heard that Haspa had not told the former teacher that the Lehman bonds he bought were not covered by the German deposit protection system.

Haspa had also failed to disclose a conflict of interest when giving him the advice to buy – at the time Haspa had a large number of Lehman bonds which it was selling to customers at a profit. Unsold bonds would have to be returned to Lehman at a loss.

Experts estimate the number of people in Germany who lost money in Lehman Brothers to be between 30,000 and 50,000. A spokeswoman for the Hamburg court told the FTD there were at least 25 other cases currently being examined in courts across the country.

The first case to be finished was last November, with the district court in Frankfurt rejecting the claim.

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Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.