Panamapapers: Austrian Bank Chief, Head Of Transparency International In Chile Resigns


BEVERLY HILLS, April 08, (THEWILL) – Micheal Grahammer, Chief Executive of Hypo Landesbank Vorarlberg, an Austrian bank, and Gonzalo Delaveau, President of the Chilean chapter of Transparency International have both resigned after being alleged to be involved with secret offshore companies exposed in the #PanamaPapers.

Austrian broadcaster ORF, one of the more than 100 news organisations that investigated the trove of data leaked from Mossack Ferona, a Panama-based law firm, said the bank was connected to offshore companies through trustees in Liechtenstein.

Austrian financial markets regulator, FMA, is investigating whether Hypo Vorarlberg and another Austrian bank mentioned in the PanamaPapers reports, Raiffeisen Bank International, aided the laundering of funds.

“I remain 100 percent convinced that the bank at no point violated laws or sanctions,” Mr. Grahammer said in a statement.

He claimed that the decision to resign was the culmination of various developments in the past year, admitting that the Panama leak was the last straw.

“In the end, the media's prejudgement of Hypo Vorarlberg and of myself in recent days was decisive for me in taking this step.”

Although, Delaveau was not accused of any wrongdoing, his name was linked to no fewer than five offshore companies which throws some doubt into his role as the head of an organization that spearheads openness in government and highlights corporate corruption.

“We are deeply troubled by what has happened with the Chair of our chapter in Chile,” José Ugaz, chair of Transparency International, wrote in a statement.

“At Transparency International we stand for transparency and integrity above all else and once we learned of Delaveau's involvement with secret companies, our International Board began the process of suspending the chapter before possible dis-accreditation. With Delaveau's resignation, our Board decided to halt its efforts to sanction the chapter.

“Not all secret companies are illegal, but many are used to hide money flows and to support acts of corruption. As we said yesterday in a press release about the Panama Papers investigation: Transparency International wants public registers of all companies' beneficial owners to make it harder for the corrupt to hide their illicit wealth in secret companies and trusts that use nominees to register ownership.”

The resignation comes after Iceland’s Prime Minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, stepped down after the leaked Panama Papers linked his wife to some offshore companies.

Story by David Oputah