In the scandal surrounding the commercial bank Mattersburg, the first hopes of the injured party for compensation are now being dashed – because the insurance company of the bank and the bank’s supervisory board is not prepared to accept liability. The bank was already broke when the insurance was taken out and the balance sheets were falsified. It’s probably about several hundred million euros.
The Commerzialbank, its board of directors, and the supervisory board had liability insurance for directors and supervisory boards as well as financial loss insurance with the American AIG insurance group. Ideally, the insurance would have covered a maximum of 20 million euros. According to Christoph Leitgeb, the lawyer for eight members of the supervisory board, the insurance does not pay. The incident was “that a municipality, namely the municipality of Forchtenstein, has asserted claims of around 1.4 million euros” – claims against the Supervisory Board of the Commerzialbank, according to Leitgeb. In its letter of rejection, AIG argued that the insurance would have expired on July 1 this year and that the bank had not paid in the premium to extend the insurance in time. The lawyer doesn’t quite see it that way.
Insurance can refuse cover
The second central argument of the AIG was: The insurance company had been fraudulently deceived. Because the bank’s board of directors had allegedly misrepresented the bank’s financial situation since 1995 and, according to board member Martin Pucher, the bank had been bankrupt since 2000. Since the insurance was originally taken out in 2016, AIG Versicherung only had incorrect balance sheets. Had AIG known, it would never have signed an insurance contract with the bank. “The fact is that there have been malversations at the Commerzialbank and there are provisions in the Insurance Contract Act that say that if the insurance company has been misled about the actual circumstances, it can refuse cover,” said Leitgeb.
Damaged persons could sue supervisory boards
The supervisory boards could now try to sue the insurance company in order to force payments, but they would not have a chance with a lawsuit against the insurance company – bad news for injured parties like the municipality of Forchtenstein. “If you believe that you have claims against the supervisory board, you would have to sue the supervisory board directly, which is actually all retirees with a very common professional past. There are no large amounts of property that could satisfy the claims of any injured party in any form or in a fraction, ”said Leitgeb.
In the meantime, several large victims filed official liability claims against the republic – arguing that the authorities and banking supervision had failed. Claims have also been announced against the state of Burgenland. Smaller savers are lucky in misfortune – deposits of up to 100,000 euros are covered by the deposit insurance, which has already paid out over 460 million euros.