German financial supervisor moves against Greensill Bank

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BERLIN — Germany's financial market supervisor on Wednesday ordered the closure of Greensill Bank AG for business with customers, citing an “imminent risk” that the subsidiary of an Australian company will become over-indebted.

Supervisor BaFin said that, in a special forensic audit, it found the bank was “unable to provide evidence of the existence of receivables in its balance sheet that it had purchased from the GFG Alliance Group." GFG Alliance is a conglomerate owned by British tycoon Sanjeev Gupta and his family.

BaFin said it has appointed a special representative for the bank.

Prosecutors in Bremen, where the bank is based, said the regulator filed a criminal complaint against the bank, but neither they nor BaFin gave details, German news agency dpa reported.

The bank is owned by Australia’s Greensill Capital Pty Ltd., and is part of a group that provides short-term supply chain financing for industrial companies.

BaFin said that Greensill Bank AG had some 4.5 billion euros ($5.4 billion) in total assets at the end of last year and is not considered systemically important. It said that “the institution’s distress poses no threat to financial stability.”

BaFin said it “has ordered that the bank be closed for business with customers and prohibited it from accepting payments that are not intended for repaying debt to Greensill Bank AG.” It banned disposals and payments.

The regulator said the moratorium is aimed at securing assets in an orderly procedure and the measures are “not yet final.”

The Associated Press