German Politicians Say Bank Managers Should Be Held Liable | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 05.10.2008
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German Politicians Say Bank Managers Should Be Held Liable

Politicians from Germany's governing parties said bank managers should be held responsible if their institution gets into trouble. Meanwhile, Berlin called for a solution after the collapse of Hypo Real Estate's bailout.

Money coming out of a briefcase

Finance managers should pay up if they cause their institution's downfall, said politicians

"In the US, managers are held liable with their private assets. We should also do that in Germany," Andrea Nahles, deputy chairwoman for the Social Democratic Part, told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday, Oct. 5.

Hans-Peter Friedrich from the Christian Social Union -- sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU -- also said managers should be taken to task, but added that personal liability should be limited to twice the annual salary.

"It can't be that managers, of banks for example, are only rarely held liable for damage they cause," he said.

Hypo Real Estate Bank in Munich

HRE's bailout plan is going back to the drawing board

In a survey commissioned by Bild am Sonntag, three-quarters of those polled also supported personal liability for managers in the finance sector. Only 23 percent were opposed.

Last-chance effort to save German lender

Also on Sunday, the German Finance Ministry urged all parties involved to find a way to save the sinking lender Hypo Real Estate.

Officials from HRE, the German central bank and the government were entering into crisis talks Sunday after a 35-billion-euro ($43-billion) bailout deal had collapsed.

HRE was to be propped up by a collection of banks and insurers, guaranteed by the German government. According to media reports, some institutions had withdrawn from the deal after learning that HRE's financial woes were worse than initially thought.

The talks were called a day after European leaders held an emergency mini-summit in Paris over the finance crisis. The heads of Europe's strongest economies said individual countries shouldn't act unilaterally, but that each would be responsible for solving its own financial troubles.

German minister: Depression led to Hitler's rise

The current credit crunch has been called the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Adolf Hitler addresses a large gathering in Nuremberg, Germany, on Aug. 10, 1938

Hitler came to power during a time of economic depression

Germany's interior minister on Sunday warned of potential political consequences to the crisis.

"We learned from the worldwide economic crisis of the 1920s (and 1930s) that an economic crisis can result in an incredible threat for all of society," Wolfgang Schaeuble was quoted as saying in the Monday edition of German newsmagazine Spiegel.

"The consequences of that depression was Adolf Hitler and, indirectly, World War II and Auschwitz," he said.

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