Tuesday, February 2, 2010

State-sponsored bank theft

Germany is somewhat paranoid about protecting its citizens from data abuse. Yet, it also adores authority. Its current finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, has shown (while he was interior minister) that the latter character trait easily wins over the former. As his predecessor did with Lichtenstein, he now goes a step further, engaging in state-sponsored bank theft, encouraged by his boss Angela Merkel. Bank clerks obviously have taken note already after the Lichtenstein incident: by dumping some juicy data on a CD, they can easily garnish a few millions. As NZZ points out today, this is much more than if their data helped finding a murderer, for example, and their violation of law and bank codes of ethics can get them behind bars for at most 6 months. Thus, the German government has created yet another bonus option for bankers hard hit by the financial crisis. No wonder it needs to take away 35% of my salary every year. (Disclaimer: my funds in Switzerland are fully declared to the German tax authorities - and the behavior of some Swiss banks in the past and present stinks, of course).