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Earlier today, we reported that the European Central Bank (ECB) had revoked the license of the BaFin-regulated Eurocity bank. Eurocity or the regulators have yet to make statements. Eurocity had until recently been under the control of Mustafa Sahin, a Turkish national. The interesting thing is that until June 2022, a former top official of the Austrian secret service sat on the bank’s Supervisory Board. Here is what we found via the German language blog Wiener Zocker.
The secret service official Franz Trautner was the head of a team at the Austrian authority until June 2020 and had access to classified and unclassified information. He was appointed to the supervisory board of Eurocity in April 2018, where he sat alongside Mustafa Sahin and Seha Sahin. For this job, he received €1,500 monthly. Mustafa Sahin is described as a major shareholder of the bank in the 2021 annual report. He is also the CEO and major shareholder of Turkish financial services provider Euro Yatirim Holding A.S. in Istanbul.
Approximately 20 months after his appointment, the Austrian secret service agency ordered its top official to resign from his job at Eurocity in November 2019. The agency was concerned that the appearance of bias could arise precisely because Franz Trautner had access to sensitive information. Trautner ignored this order. For this, he was charged by the authority. He briefly rested his Supervisory Board mandate (but continued to receive the monthly payments) and moved to another authority in mid-2020. He held his job as a supervisory board member until June 2022. In December 2022, the ECB revoked the bank’s license.
What interests can an Austrian intelligence officer have in a German bank controlled by Turkish nationals and companies? The “Eurocity” case appears extremely strange against this background. It is somewhat reminiscent of Wirecard, which maintained an excellent relationship with the Austrian secret service. The authorities involved should provide clarity in this regard with public statements.
If you have any information about Eurocity, please let us know via our whistleblower system, Whistle42.