Hamburg bank must repay customer’s Lehman loss

A retired teacher who lost €10,000 when the US investment bank Lehman Brothers went bust last year has succeeded in forcing the Hamburg bank which sold him the bond, to pay him the money in full.

Hamburg bank must repay customer's Lehman loss
Bernd Krupsky won compensation. Photo: DPA

The Hamburger Sparkasse (Haspa) said it would appeal the decision handed down by the Hamburg District Court on Tuesday – which was greeted by applause in the public gallery, according to a report in the Financial Times Deutschland

Bernd Krupsky, a 64-year-old former teacher, said the investment advice he received from the Haspa in 2006 was wrong on two points, and that he would not have bought the Lehman certificates otherwise.

A Haspa spokeswoman said the court had, “written retrospective obligations for banks, which did not previously exist.”

The court heard that Haspa had not told the former teacher that the Lehman bonds he bought were not covered by the German deposit protection system.

Haspa had also failed to disclose a conflict of interest when giving him the advice to buy – at the time Haspa had a large number of Lehman bonds which it was selling to customers at a profit. Unsold bonds would have to be returned to Lehman at a loss.

Experts estimate the number of people in Germany who lost money in Lehman Brothers to be between 30,000 and 50,000. A spokeswoman for the Hamburg court told the FTD there were at least 25 other cases currently being examined in courts across the country.

The first case to be finished was last November, with the district court in Frankfurt rejecting the claim.

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French court hands Amazon €90,000-per-day fine over contracts

French authorities on Wednesday slapped a €90,000-per-day fine on e-commerce giant Amazon until it removes abusive clauses in its contracts with businesses using its platform to sell their goods.

French court hands Amazon €90,000-per-day fine over contracts

The anti-fraud Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes (DGCCRF) service said the online sales giant’s contracts with third-party sellers who use its website contain “unbalanced” clauses.

“The company Amazon Services Europe did not comply completely with an injunction it was served and it is now subject to a fine of €90,000 per day of delay” in applying the changes, the DGCCRF said in a statement.

It also urged the platform to conform with European rules on equity and transparency for firms using online platforms.

Amazon said the order would harm consumers.

“The changes imposed by the DGCCRF will stop us from effectively protecting consumers and permit bad actors to set excessive prices or spam our clients with commercial offers,” the e-commerce giant said in a statement.

“We will comply with the DGCCRF’s decision but we absolutely do not understand it and we are challenging it in court,” responded the e-commerce giant in a statement.

Amazon said the clauses that the DGCCRF has ordered removed had, for example “prevented the appearance of exorbitant prices for mask and hydroalcoholic gel during the pandemic”.

In 2019, Amazon was fined €4 million for “manifestly unbalanced” contract clauses with third-party sellers on its site in a case brought by the DGCCRF.