• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Banks block Iranian students' accounts

The Local · 19 Feb 2013, 14:37

Published: 19 Feb 2013 14:37 GMT+01:00

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)

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.

TheWonderer
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
The Local List
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Photo: DPA

These films are so good, not even The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari made the list.

Young man destroys 17 cars after visiting Oktoberfest

Early on Monday morning a drunk 29-year-old trashed 17 cars after staggering out of Oktoberfest into the Munich streets. It was one of several eye-popping crimes from "Wiesn" over the past few days.

VW emissions scandal
Audi tech chief leaves after reports link him to 'dieselgate'
Audi's head of technical development Stefan Knirsch stepped down on Monday. Photo: DPA.

Audi's head of technical development stepped down "with immediate effect" on Monday, the luxury carmaker announced, after German media accused him of involvement in parent company Volkswagen's "dieselgate" scandal.

Deutsche Bank shares hit lowest level in quarter century
Photo: DPA.

Shares in Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest lender, sank to a historic low on Monday after reports at the weekend that Berlin had refused state aid for the embattled lender.

The Local List
The 10 worst German cities for students to find digs
Photo: DPA

It's the start of autumn, which means the start of the university year. But along with the excitement comes the stress of finding housing - and in some glamorous locations this can be a nightmare.

German broadcaster sues Turkey over confiscated video
Akif Cagatay Kilic. Photo: DPA

German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle said Monday it had filed a civil complaint after a Turkish minister's office confiscated a taped video interview with him.

Germany's 'James Bond' goes on trial over tax evasion
Werner Mauss. Photo: DPA.

Germany's former top spy, Werner Mauss, went on trial on Monday accused of hiding millions of euros from authorities.

Germany holds first national 'mermaiding' championship
Photo: DPA

Ariel would be proud.

Gallery
15 pics that prove Germany is totally enchanting in autumn
The Max-Eyth-See in Stuttgart. Photo: DPA.

As summer fades into a distant memory and you start to begrudge trading Birkenstocks for boots, these pictures may help change your perspective on the new chill in the air.

Left politician who smuggled refugee could lose immunity
Diether Dehm. Photo: DPA.

Die Linke (Left Party) politician Diether Dehm could lose his immunity as an elected official after he admitted to smuggling a refugee into Germany.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
6,513
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd