Europe

German ex-CEO of BayernLB bank guilty of bribery

Carinthia's governor Joerg Haider (left) and BayernLB CEO Werner Schmidt (right) in May 2007 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Schmidt (right) is pictured here with Haider in May 2007

A German court has given a suspended jail term to the ex-boss of BayernLB bank for having bribed Austrian far-right politician Joerg Haider in 2007.

Werner Schmidt was given an 18 month suspended sentence and a 100,000-euro (£79,000) fine by the court in Munich.

Haider - who died in 2008 - was governor of Austria's Carinthia state at the time. The bribe was linked to BayernLB's purchase of a troubled Carinthian bank, Hypo Alpe Adria.

BayernLB was bailed out in late 2008.

Schmidt pleaded guilty to the bribery charge. Seven of his senior colleagues charged with embezzlement were acquitted.

The Bavarian state has a majority stake in BayernLB. The bank was among several German Landesbanken (state banks) which got into trouble in the sub-prime mortgage crisis in 2008.

Hypo Alpe Adria, the bank that was purchased by BayernLB, was nationalised by the Austrian government in 2009 to prevent it collapsing.

The bribery involved a 2.5m-euro football sponsorship deal channelled through a BayernLB subsidiary, Deutsche Kreditbank (DKB), Austrian media reported.

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