The trouble with paranoia…

…is that sometimes they really are out to get you.  I missed this case over the summer, but thankfully a friendly MLRO pointed it out to me.  Back in 2006, German Gustl Mollath went to the authorities with claims that his wife and her colleagues at Bavaria’s HypoVereinsbank (HVB) were laundering millions of euros of criminal proceeds through Swiss bank accounts.  His wife Petra Maske said in her defence that Mollath had been abusing her and that this was his final attempt to be rid of her.  Her lawyers argued successfully that Mollath was paranoid, and he was forcibly committed to psychiatric care in Bayreuth.  Whenever he appealed, lawyers used psychiatrists’ reports claiming that Mollath was suffering from a “paranoid personality disorder” to refute his continued and vehement claims that HVB staff had been involved in money laundering.

However (and here I quote directly from an article dated 6 August 2013), “last November [2012] fresh evidence surfaced from a 2003 audit conducted at the Munich-based bank which suggested that money laundering and assisted tax evasion had been practised by staff for several years.  It emerged that a number of bank employees, including Mr Mollath’s wife, were sacked following the bank’s investigation.”  Mollath’s diagnosis was declared unsafe and he was freed immediately from psychiatric care.  He is planning to claim compensation.  Why oh why was this information not presented before now, with a man’s liberty at stake?  Is it what we have always feared, that even the most reputable institution would rather hush up money laundering and deal with it internally than risk that reputation?

This entry was posted in AML, Money laundering, Organised crime, White collar crime and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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