Money embezzled

The silent trickster of Salzburg Hypo

11.06.2024 17:00

An ex-banker (62) caused eight million euros in losses at her own bank. She admits this in court - but not another word. Nor where all the money went.

It is a sum that hardly anyone can earn in a working life. The main defendant (62) defrauded her own long-standing employer - Hypo Salzburg - of around eight million euros. The landlady worked at the branch in Seekirchen for decades and was given far-reaching powers as a representative. And she exploited this for years for her trickery. Why? Was it all because she was greedy for more money? And anyway, where have the millions gone now?

Mysteries about the whereabouts of the millions
Questions that the pensioner did not answer at the trial on Tuesday in room 101 of the regional court. "I am completely guilty and would like to apologize," were her only words. Her defense lawyer, Kurt Jelinek, had advised her, referring to her rights of defense - according to the Code of Criminal Procedure, defendants are allowed to remain silent, they are even allowed to lie. "She has now paid something back, and she is also offering her house as compensation," said Jelinek, emphasizing: "She didn't keep everything."

Defense lawyer Christoph Hirsch with the second defendant (Bild: Tschepp Markus)
Defense lawyer Christoph Hirsch with the second defendant

The co-accused accomplice, a professional private investigator, was more forthcoming: "I'm sorry too. It developed out of the financial emergency situation," explained the family man (52), who already had a criminal record. The man himself has debts of more than one million euros - from the bankruptcy of his ex-company. And when asked by the judge about a motive, he said: "It started with financial pressure. That developed further and took on a momentum of its own." And he added: "At some point, I couldn't get out of it."

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She can't get out of it for the rest of her life, it's also a punishment. I plead for a partially conditional sentence with the possibility of an ankle bracelet.

Verteidiger Kurt Jelinek

Investigators spent more than two years working on the case, which only came to light in 2021 as a result of a special audit due to a bank merger. Basically, the ex-bank employee embezzled money in three different ways.

The ex-bank employee granted 151 loans to fictitious customers, and the accomplice helped her with forged IDs and documents. Christoph Hirsch, defense lawyer for the second defendant, emphasized on this point: "The 3.8 million euros did not all go to my client." Real clients had given her a further 3.5 million euros for investment - but this went into her own pocket. She also made around 700,000 euros from the sale of securities, which she carried out on her own authority without a mandate.

The judge certainly recognized a "deterrent effect due to the financial consequences" - with regard to the bank's repayment claims. The non-final sentences: three years' partial imprisonment, one unconditional for the bank trickster and three and a half years' unconditional imprisonment for the accomplice.

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