• 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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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."

Story continues below…

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.

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
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd