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Austrian report Austrian report
by Euro Reporter
2011-07-10 10:26:08
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Austria doesn’t see capital surcharge for nation’s top banks

Austrian regulators won’t pursue a capital surcharge for the country’s biggest banks as European policymakers are debating how to adapt at the national level new rules to make global “too-big-to-fail” lenders safer. In an effort to prevent another financial crisis, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision said last month that banks deemed too big to fail must hold as much as 2.5 percentage points in additional capital. As many as 30 banks worldwide may face such surcharges. The debate is now turning to banks whose collapse could unsettle a particular country’s banking system even if they are too small to cause global havoc.

Helmut Ettl and Kurt Pribil, co-chairmen of Austrian financial supervisor FMA, said nations should have leeway to apply capital surcharges and other rules selectively and shouldn’t be forced to slap a surcharge on banks that are systemically important on a national level. “Depending on management, risk, and other factors, we should be able to selectively” apply different measures to ensure banks don’t have to be bailed out by taxpayers, Pribil told reporters yesterday. “It doesn’t make sense to simply say that the surcharge must apply to a fixed set of banks.”

The European Commission is due to discuss new rules for national systemically important financial institutions, or SIFIs, Ettl said. Austria’s biggest lenders are Erste Group Bank AG (EBS), UniCredit SpA (UCG)’s Bank Austria AG and Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI), none of which are among the 30 banks that face the Basel surcharge.


Upper Austrian man admits killing ex-partner's daughter

A man and his teenage son are accused of murdering a girl in Upper Austria. The 48-year-old admitted killing the 14-year-old daughter of his ex-girlfriend, while his son, 19, denies any involvement, police in Bad Ischl said today (Thurs). Both men are in custody.

The body of Paulina Sideres was found buried close to the banks of a mountain lake outside her hometown yesterday evening. Investigations started when pedestrians witnessed her abduction on Tuesday morning. The teenager was dragged into a van on her way to school. The main suspect split from the murdered teen’s mum last February.

The crime bears similarities to the case of Natascha Kampusch who was kidnapped on her way to school aged 10 in 1998. Kampusch managed to escape from her abductor’s clutches in 2006. Wolfgang Priklopil, who incarcerated her in a basement chamber of his house in Strasshof an der Nordbahn, committed suicide in Vienna a few hours after Kampusch ran away. Only last week, the mortal remains of Julia Kührer were found in a wine cellar in Dietmannsdorf, Lower Austria. Kührer went missing aged 16 five years ago. Investigations are ongoing.


Hitler's birthplace withdraws honour

Adolf Hitler is now formally persona non grata in the town of his birth. The town council in the Austrian village of Braunau has unanimously decided to withdraw honorary citizenship from the community's most infamous son, 78 years after the Nazi dictator was given the title.

Hitler was actually born in the tiny village of Ranshofen, next to Braunau and became an honorary citizen of that hamlet in 1933. But Ranshofen became part of Braunau a few years later and thus is universally recognized as Hitler's birthplace.

Braunau historians say they aren't sure if the title was transferable from Ranshofen to Braunau. But the town council decided to abolish it late Thursday - just in case.

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