Prosecutors drop investigation of ‘Germany’s stupidest bankers’

German prosecutors said Tuesday they had dropped a probe into six bankers from state-owned KfW for transferring some €320 million ($408 million) to Lehman Brothers after it had collapsed.

Prosecutors drop investigation of 'Germany's stupidest bankers'
Photo: DPA

The probe into five executives and a top risk-control manager over the erroneous transfer, which made Germany a laughing stock in the finance world, has been shelved “for lack of evidence” of wrongdoing, prosecutors said.

When the affair came to light, KfW fired three directors involved with the error. The press dubbed the trio “Germany’s stupidest bankers.”

The transfer, part of a swap arrangement between the two institutions, was conducted 14 minutes after Lehman Brothers declared the biggest insolvency in US banking history.

“For them, as for the rest of the international world of finance, the insolvency of Lehman Brothers came as a complete surprise,” prosecutor Thomas Bechtel said.

Moreover, the boss of the bank at the time had been in his post for a mere two weeks and had not yet examined the firm’s risk management systems, the prosecutors concluded.

AFP/mry ([email protected])

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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.