Schwalbach’s mayor comments on the Greensill affair

IIn a personal statement on Thursday evening before the city council, Schwalbach’s mayor Alexander Immisch (SPD) was responsible for the impending loss of a total of 19 million euros in time deposits at the insolvent Greensill-Bank. Immisch once again described in detail the course of events and commented on the investigations by the Frankfurt public prosecutor’s office, which have since been initiated against him in seven cases because of the initial suspicion of infidelity.

Heike Lattka

Correspondent for the Rhein-Main-Zeitung for the Main-Taunus-Kreis.

Visibly emotionally affected, Immisch assured that he loved his city as mayor and that he took office with joy and commitment last year in order to achieve only the best for Schwalbach.

“That’s why every missing euro pains me here,” he emphasized. He could assure the parliamentarians that he was most angry about that. He was “burning” to get the millions back from Schwalbach as completely as possible. The mayor asked for understanding that he had not immediately informed the public about the public prosecutor’s seizure of files in the town hall, which took place on May 6th.

“Let it sink in first”

As a person who had to show his driver’s license and ID card once or twice in his life during controls, but otherwise never had contact with the police or public prosecutor, he had to “let this process sink in” for himself. First he informed his family about what was happening, consulted with them and prepared them for the expected reporting.

Facing investigations by the public prosecutor's office into Greensill: Schwalbach's Mayor Alexander Immisch


Facing investigations by the public prosecutor’s office into Greensill: Schwalbach’s Mayor Alexander Immisch
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Image: Francois Klein

Immediately, however, he informed the district administrator of the Main-Taunus district and the entire magistrate, reported Immisch. It was also agreed with the press department that corresponding inquiries would be confirmed.

Immisch again described the events in detail: According to this, the city made seven fixed-term deposits at Greensill Bank from mid-June 2020 to February 2021. Two of these investments expired within the period and earned corresponding interest. From today’s perspective, he regrets very much that he then invested the money again at Greensill in December 2020 and February 2021.

The mayor emphasized once again that he had no knowledge of a city council resolution from 2019. As reported, this resolution states that until a municipal investment guideline comes into force, new investments only have to be made in the form of a fixed-term deposit at institutions of the Sparkasse Group, the Deutsche Bundesbank and the cooperative banks.

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The specialist office did not inform him of this decision. It is precisely because of this investment decision that the public prosecutor’s office is investigating Immisch and not the mayor of the neighboring city of Eschborn, which was also affected by the bankruptcy, because Adnan Shaikh (CDU) was not bound by a decision to certain financial institutions.

Immisch defended himself by relying on “existing processes” and trusting that every process would be expertly checked. In addition, the seven fixed-term deposits have been recommended by various investment brokers with whom the city has already worked successfully on other investments. “If I had known this municipal decision, I would of course have acted according to this decision,” assured Immisch.

The city council’s resolution on the facilities, which was never confirmed by the city council, was only necessary because of the lack of investment guidelines. According to Immisch, this requirement for handling systems, which was developed in 2019, was delayed due to the departure of the office manager responsible for finances and the deputy office manager at the end of 2019.

It was important to make it clear to the mayor that he had not acted speculatively. The deposit protection instruments of the savings banks financial groups and the cooperative banks also offer no protection for the deposits of the public sector.

Complete reconditioning promised

Nevertheless, there is a lower risk here due to the bank security. With the discontinuation of the grandfathering, the deposits at private banks are less well protected and, viewed in this way, “have become less secure” in the event of the bank’s insolvency. However, they cannot be described as speculative.

Immisch promised a complete processing. At the same time, he asked for the approval of the city council to approve a municipal submission to commission a lawyer in the insolvency proceedings of Greensill-Bank and to examine further liability claims.

These lawyers represent a total of 17 municipalities with a total claim of almost 150 million euros. However, due to unresolved issues, the item on the agenda was moved to the main and finance committee at the request of the Greens and the FDP. There was also no debate on the subject.

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