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Man keeps interest from €200 million bank error

The Local · 4 May 2012, 11:30

Published: 04 May 2012 11:30 GMT+02:00

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The man, named in German media only as Michael H., sold shares last April for €20,000 – but his online bank Comdirect accidentally put €200 million into his account.

Michael H. swiftly transferred €10 million of it into his current account in a different bank. And although Comdirect successfully clawed back all the €200 million, it demanded €12,000 on top – 14.4 percent interest on the money he moved.

The district court in Itzehoe, Schleswig-Holstein, ruled on Thursday that Comdirect should repay the man the €12,000 – plus the interest it accrued over the last year.

But the bank – which is owned by Commerzbank – is going to appeal. “People who want to use money that does not belong to them generally have to pay interest," a bank spokesman said. "That is the same for everyone.”

“We only implemented normal procedures – it was nothing more than correct protocol.”

Michael H. admitted it was fun to be a multimillionaire for a moment, but now regrets moving the money. “It would have been better if I had done nothing.”

Story continues below…

DPA/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:53 May 4, 2012 by noleti
The title is wrong. As the text correctly describes, the bank first demanded a 14.4% interest rate for the 10M EUR which he sent to a different account before giving it back. This interest resulted in 12k EUR. They simply took this money from his account, now they have to give it back, plus give him interest rate for it. In the end, the poor man at least didn't loose money because of the bank's fault.
16:08 May 4, 2012 by yourkeau
14.4%?! Are they mad? Thanks God I'm not a Commerzbank customer.
22:53 May 4, 2012 by glenhope
The court should have instructed the bank to pay the man 14.4% interest on the whole EUR 200m for the time it was resting in his account.

The bank obviously thinks that they are entitled to engage in usury but nobody else is. They also think they are entitled to bring the world financial system to the brink of collapse and then be too big to fail.

It's time for a reality check. Good for the court.

The bank should feel lucky the guy didn't buy 200 million worth of shares.
17:04 May 5, 2012 by SynJyn Tweer
The banks do not pay interest on money that does not belong to them all the time. Most times when you transfer money it only is credited to the other account 24 hour to five days later and the banks are happy to take the interest for this period.
23:52 May 5, 2012 by DavidtheNorseman
@glenhope - agreed. They should be glad he didn't transfer it to the Government of N. Korea or the US :-)
00:22 May 8, 2012 by wood artist
The first, and most important thing in this whole mess is simple: The original problem was a bank error! The FACT that the bank screwed up doesn't somehow obligate the "victim" of their error. Since he didn't spend the money, the only valid claim the bank has is for it's return. If the money gained interest during the process that's hardly his fault.

In the US most of us would simply say it's an example of "street justice" since the banks are never hesitant to make a customer error play to their advantage.

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