Why was the RBI governor changed?
Interview with the respondent Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer
Chair Doris Bures: We now come to the questioning of today's first respondent, Dr. Cult.
Dr. Cult! You have exercised your right to take someone you trust with you.
I would also like to inform you that on your left is Professor Binder, who is a procedural lawyer under the new rules of procedure and who ensures that your fundamental and personal rights are protected, and with whom you and your confidant can always consult if there is a need there are legal questions on your part due to questions.
Dr. Pilgermair as a procedural judge is available to answer any legal questions you may have.
In addition, you can of course contact me at any time during the survey, even if you wish to take a short break or seek advice. I will of course comply with this request for a short break.
The legal instruction has already been given by Mag. Hellmich. Nonetheless, trial judge Dr. Pilgermair now briefly again about yours right and duties teach and after a possible introductory statement also carry out an initial survey.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: Good morning, Dr. Cult! I welcome you and ask that you first take a look at the correctness of the personal data entered on this personal data sheet. (Informant Cultivated: Yes, these are correct!) - The data is confirmed.
Dr. Cult! On the occasion of the written invitation you received for today's meeting, you were already informed about your rights and obligations as an information person, but also about the course of today's questioning here in the committee of inquiry. Before the start of the session, the deputy procedural judge, Mr. Mag. Hellmich, gave you detailed information about your rights and obligations as a person providing information in accordance with Section 38 of the Rules of Procedure. You have signed the minutes of this legal instruction recorded here.
I now ask you whether you have given this instruction, in particular about the reasons for refusing to testify and excluding the public as well as the obligation to disclose the truth and the criminal consequences of any intentionally false evidence before the investigative committee, as well as the instruction have understood in accordance with the Information Regulation Act. (Informant Cultivated: Yes!) - The respondent replies in the affirmative.
In the event that you still have questions about the legal information you have been given, I invite you to address such questions to me now. (The respondent replies in the negative.) However, you can also provide this at any time in a further sequence. - I note that you have no questions at the moment.
You have the lawyer Dr. Josef Weixelbaum called in. Dr. Weixelbaum! I would like to welcome you too, and ask that you, too, first take a look at the personal data entered in this data sheet and check that it is correct. (The person of trust confirms this.)- The data is confirmed.
I am not aware of any reasons for the exclusion of the shop steward involved in accordance with Section 46 (4) of the Rules of Procedure. I ask the members of the committee who are present to inform whether they object to the appointment of Dr. Josef Weixelbaum as confidante for the information person Dr. Cult objection is raised? - That's not the case.
Then I point out one more time that reasons for excluding the person of trust can still be presented during the interview.
I am now asking you, Mr Lawyer, as a trusted person - even as a lawyer, I cannot spare you this part of the legal information - whether there are any questions about the legal information that has already been given for trusted persons. (The confidant says no.)- There are no questions.
Dr. Cult! Then I finally ask you whether you have the right to exercise before the start of the interview introductory statement want to make use of it, which can take up to 20 minutes. (The respondent nods in the affirmative.) - Then I invite you to make use of this right and to make this statement now.
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: Madam President! Mr. procedural judge! Mr. procedural attorney! Dear Members of Parliament, Dear representatives of the press! I thank you for the opportunity to make a statement here.
The opinion that I will give before my interview is divided into two parts. First of all, I would like to take a very strict position on a number of points that have had a massive impact on me personally recently, and in particular I would like to answer questions in advance that you may ask in order to perhaps shorten individual questions a little.
My aim is also to counter the conscious and unconscious misdirections in the various criminal investigations. After all, it is strange that a short-term nationalized bank, according to the present specification of services - the documents are then also made available - pays an agency called Milestones, whose owner is a Mr. Beninger, to obviously also counteract dirty campaigning in parallel to public prosecutor's inquiries organize my person. - That is a fact and proven, and it confirms the prejudicial endeavor to label myself as the deputy scapegoat for many of those involved.
Significantly, the offer was made by this agency on August 26, 2010, about 14 days after I was arrested. All supplements that come with it will be made available afterwards.
The forensics head of HETA, Mr. Christian Böhler, sends a partner in his private company an order for a forensics report that does not deserve the name. This Reuter company is a building and property protection company. The managing director and author of the report commissioned is a former Bavarian police officer who, according to the homepage, specializes in "close protection", i.e. a bodyguard, and the result of this report is linguistically awkward and exhausted in objectively untenable suspicions - and I say that very consciously - in the direction of myself.
The public prosecutor's office then acts on the basis of such opinions, which are highly questionable under the rule of law, whereby the question arises as to which state institution has issued the so-called appraisal order to the building and property protection company. - Yes. Interestingly, as in the Beninger case, the client was Hypo International, and it was also the payer.
I will tell you very clearly, and I will also try to make it clear today: I have never consciously taken any action that would have even remotely accepted damage to the bank!
It is also significant that the compliance expert Dr. Wohlschlägl-Aschberger, who was assigned to the public prosecutor's office as an expert, charged a Slovak letterbox company with a subcontract that they carried out for expert DDr. Altenberger in the swap affair, which is probably intensely discussed today. Incidentally, in her report on the subject of swap, she comes to the conclusion that the accounting was legal. Later, however, when she was advising the public prosecutor in the preference share process, she failed to mention this expert activity at all.
For me it is clear that dubious networks play a role in the criminal prosecution of my person. I hope I'm not the only one interested in who is actually behind C-Tank s.r.o. stands. I will of course have the extract from the Slovak company register made available to you.
The clarification work of the parliamentary committee of inquiry is not only in the interest of the state, but also very intensively in my own interest, in order to openly reveal the mistakes in the past in criminal investigations, but also my mistakes. In doing so, the members of the opposition parties in particular have to be respected for their willingness to think outside the box.
Dr. Hable! I appreciate your particular tenacity and vehemence - I have observed that - even though you misinterpret a few things or have been misinformed, for example with the factum Puris. I hope we can sort that out today. I have absolutely no restrictions on this. In my opinion, your advisor in this matter is certainly not looking for the truth, but for his personal advantage. However, I share your assessment of the most recent comparison between Austria and Bavaria.
In individual cases I was arbitrary, for example on the Puris fact: A gentleman with the significant name List offered himself up as a witness for the public prosecutor after 13 years and complained in his testimony that I had his loan request regarding an economically absolute I rejected an unjustifiable polo project, which is true, because it would have clearly damaged the bank. The testimony of the witness that I personally stand for Puris and not as a bank organ assumes, contrary to the facts, an intention to enrich, which, as in every other case, I strongly reject. I only recently learned from the file that the aforementioned did receive funding from the HGAA for what I considered to be the unjustifiable polo project, apparently after my departure.
It is also assumed that, as a member of the Supervisory Board, I would have known about every loan from the group. You should also know that this is not possible!
Nevertheless: I have to spend several years of my life in prison without being aware of a criminal act or having committed one. Misconduct: Yes! Wrong decisions: yes! But no criminal acts! - I don't want that to sound whiny. I guess I'm not the only one who experiences this kind of thing. Everyone should know that, in spite of mistakes I made afterwards, my endeavors as a board member or supervisory board were always for the good of the bank. I have never wanted to harm this bank.
I would particularly like to thank the former President of the Supreme Court, Dr. Griss, which, in my opinion, has so far been the only person who wanted to honestly explore with their commission in the context of extrajudicial awareness-raising work, what happened, what I know, what I am responsible for and what I think. - I hope that she can complete her puzzle about the Hypo story. You and the tax advisor can only wish that! I sign every line of your report, including the criticism of my mistakes that I have made.
Now a couple of points on details related to questions that will interest you.
First, a little bit about history: I have been active at Raiffeisen for ten years since 1982. I went to Hypo in 1992 and was a board member there for 15 years. So it should be mentioned that I worked in banking for a total of 25 years. However, it is likely to be forgotten that I left the Hypo Management Board nine years ago, and it is not mentioned that I left the Hypo Supervisory Board eight years ago as part of the takeover by Bavaria. After I left, there were a manageable number of CEOs: Grigg, Berlin, Dörhöfer, Pinkl, Kranebitter, Picker. After that, to be honest, I lost track of everything.
I took over the bank myself in 1992. Hypo had 1.6 billion total assets and 240 employees, 170 of whom were tenured civil servants. From the year 2000 it was personally clear to me that the enormous growth opportunities would necessitate various changes in the company. There was a bottleneck in raising equity and also in internationally experienced managers. I've been looking for the latter intensively. In 2002 and 2003 we repeatedly failed because of the salary expectations, not because of the objection of the supervisory board, but because of the objection of the shareholders, because the ideas regarding salaries that are paid on the international market were unimaginable for the province of Carinthia.
The criticism of inadequate control and management systems is - in part - justified. Audit reports by the National Bank from 2001 and 2002 show this criticism, but there was no excitement on these points on the part of the FMA regarding this situation. The representations of the former FMA board member Traumüller, who wants to remember warnings and conversations, are incomprehensible. I am not familiar with the dramatic discussions that he mentioned here in the committee of inquiry.
The decisive decisions to split the bank were taken in 2003 and implemented in the first half of 2004. This split is essential, also with regard to possible questions from you, because one consequence of this split, which had to be approved by the FMA, the OeNB, the Hypo-Verband, the Ministry of Finance, the state government and the state parliament, was that the Had to decide on liability again.
As a result of this split, a structure was created with ten banking subsidiaries in ten different countries with ten leasing companies, and a total of around 30 bank directors and 30 managing directors worked there independently. 90 percent of the loan and leasing cases - and that should not be an excuse - were analyzed, evaluated, negotiated and decided in these subsidiary banks and leasing companies. According to the Pouvoir limits, of course, I only saw 10 percent of them. 10 percent of the Group's credit volume has also passed through my desk or from credit committees, committees and the supervisory board. Today prosecutors assume that I need to know all credit cases personally, which is an absurd assumption.
Regarding state liability: This was rescheduled in 2004 due to the split, unanimously in the state government, in the state holding company and also in the state parliament. According to the liability text, the state of Carinthia would have had the option at any time to terminate this liability in the following years due to the volume. I explicitly point out that we as the board of directors were obliged to use the advantages of state liability. It is very clear that if we hadn't done that, it would have been detrimental to the company.
So, of course, from around 2004 onwards, there were benefits from the provincial liability of 15 to 35 million depending on the development of the provincial liability, cost savings for refinancing.
When was the first break in the Hypo? - In 2004 there were two massive events. On April 12, 2014, Dr. Haider overtook the then neutral chairman of the supervisory board, Dr. Koch asked to resign from his function. He was followed by Dr. Bussfeld, man of his trust. Subsequently, the swap losses emerged just this year, six months after the departure or replacement of the chairman of the supervisory board. The then Treasurer Christian Rauscher had made currency bets that I didn't know, about which I wasn't informed, that contained a clause regarding “unlimited loss”, something like the nationalization treaty.
The damage was enormous. We tried to balance and tried to spread the loss over ten years because the swap term would have been ten years even in the positive case. Back then, I weighed between a defensive and an offensive strategy. From today's perspective, choosing the defensive strategy and trying to resolve that internally was a huge mistake.
But now we come to an essential point: The really decisive blow against Hypo Bank was struck by the FMA on March 31, 2006 - at that time in coordination with the then Finance Minister Karl-Heinz Grasser.
During the audit of the 2004 annual financial statements - this audit will take place in the first quarter of 2006 - the auditors were of the opinion that the accounting for swap losses 2004 was not correct.
They then discussed how to renovate it. However, one of the auditors, namely Deloitte, submitted a report to the FMA on March 31, 2006 that the certificate was withdrawn - without informing the board of directors, the supervisory board or me about it.
The bank was about to proceed Not informed. But: The spokesman, the media spokesman for the FMA made this information available exclusively to the “Kronen Zeitung” on the same evening - this has also been proven.
You can imagine what a blow that was. Today I assume that the Hypo scandal was apparently wanted - at least approved. Once again: In this respect, too, the statements made by Dr. Traumüller incomprehensible.
The fact is - I don't want to deny that at all -: I am responsible for the way we have accounted for the swaps, and I stand by it.The judgment in this matter was passed, whereby the expert assessment in the criminal proceedings in Klagenfurt was contradicting itself. As I said, the later expert in the public prosecutor's office judged the accounting to be legal at the time. This is also shown by the discussion on new accounting.
There would have been different variants of the new accounting. At that time, the FMA insisted on the most negative option, and in this way the bank withdrew 400 million of its own funds in the 2004 balance sheet using the accounting method. Hypo never recovered from this blow.
Regarding the accusation of enrichment: This was assumed in the preference share issue, this was assumed with 3 million customer funds from Liechtenstein, this is now assumed again at Puris. I strongly reject that. So far, all of these allegations have vanished as malicious allegations. None of this is true, and I think it's a cheek how here, too, facts that have long been cleared up are repeatedly rehashed. But that apparently still belongs to the PR strategy of the owner representative or the financial procurator's office.
On the subject of Haider, my relationship with Haider: Of course, Haider's wishes always led to conflicts with me. The discussions took place in the bank, in the state government or at other meetings. There were never face-to-face conversations with Haider. He was always accompanied by some kind of assistant.
Why was the relationship distant? - I could not fulfill his wishes, I did not want to fulfill. Furthermore, due to my background, my professional activity, previous work at Raiffeisen, he always suspected that I would one day run for the ÖVP against him.
Haider intervened in the bank for the first time - I have already mentioned that - on April 12, 2004. That was completely unexpected, the recall of Dr. Cook overnight as chairman of the supervisory board. For us it was a bang out of the blue. Its delegated chairmen, Dr. Bussfeld and his deputy Pöschl were there. In Haider's circles, this reshuffle was referred to as disciplining cults. The two new men left after a year.
From 2006, after the swap event was public, I knew that my days in the bank were numbered. I therefore only dealt with the capital increase and restructuring of the capital and fought vehemently for it.
To the so-called self-service shop Hypo for Haider. I'm sorry: There are some projects that we have supported, also in the interests of the country, that we have done - you will ask me about them -: Castle hotel, lake stage, planning costs for the tunneling under the southern railway, Styrian Spirit, Carinthia Foundation - everything in the normal range.
But there is one case in which I am extremely annoyed personally that it is published again and again - and that also in the direction of the media, please finally take note of it -: At the Klagenfurt football stadium, there is not a single Euro from Hypo to be built! The financing and sponsoring that took place afterwards through the entry into Bavaria have nothing to do with Hypo. There was never a euro for this - sorry! - idiotic football stadium. Everyone knows that in Carinthia I was always opposed to football because it is pure money burning.
It is a fact that the millions from the liability commission and from the dividends in the state budget were immediately distributed and used up. But even Haider couldn't decide that on his own. I don't know the Haider self-service store, i.e. the Hypo self-service store. Rather, I see Hypo after the nationalization as a golden goose and as a self-service shop for consultants, law firms and appraisers. If the costs have risen to 400 million so far, then that probably says it all.
The entry of SU - I hope you will also ask me more about this -: For me, SU entry was the safe haven for Hypo. At the time I thought, now everything is done. It was a great disappointment, the greatest of my life, to find that something completely different happened here.
Intensive discussions preceded BayernLB's entry. When it became known that BayernLB really not only wanted to finance, namely Berlin and Co., but also wanted to get involved, there were intensive discussions about the risk. Hopefully you will ask me about this. I also have wonderful documents available that prove that BayernLB knew everything and had everything at the table.
There is also a wonderful document - and I hope you know it - on nationalization. There is a memo from a meeting on January 26, 2010, that is six weeks to of nationalization. This meeting was attended by a Mr. Mag. Lejsek from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Dr. Peschorn, Dr. Ranftl, Mag. Jirgal et cetera, on the part of the Klagenfurt public prosecutor's office, the gentlemen who lead the hypo charges there - Mr Höbl, Ladinig, Mr Riffel and Mrs Wohlschlägl-Aschberger, whom I have already spoken of.
If you read this memo, you can only shake your head, because there was asked in a circle who might have information about the current situation at Hypo. - Nobody knew anything, six weeks after the nationalization. The PwC's dramatic asset screening report may have been heard of, but no one knew of the report. Mind you, this memo was written by a prosecutor who attended that meeting six weeks after the nationalization.
The persecution of my person, and how did I feel from 2010 onwards: The then Finance Minister Pröll ordered that every document in the bank be turned over three times and did not deal with the usual state investigative authorities, but with a special commission, the art authority baptized the name "CSI", which was under direct influence.
Business activities should be carefully examined. How this was investigated can be seen in both cases that have now ended in Klagenfurt with an acquittal in the criminal proceedings, namely Paradiso and Heli kompanija.
The interrogations(Trial judge Pilgermair informs the person providing the information about the expiry of the time available for the introductory statement)- one minute more, then I'll be done - were carried out in 2010, 2011. The interrogation protocols of the witnesses deviate blatantly from the same testimony of witnesses in the proceedings. There is a suspicion that witnesses did not testify here without pressure.
The hair-raising reason for my pre-trial detention, which took place on August 13, 2010, I do not want to explain in detail. I was treated like a criminal, the first 48 hours in a cell with nothing but a rubber mat on the floor.
The following charges - yes, I realized that I hold my head for a lot, including Haider. The result was my personal bankruptcy. I've spent $ 3 million so far on defense and court costs and sold my fortune on them. I have nothing left now. I was left with bare life. So I don't care what people are going to do to me now. There is no point anymore.
At the time, I really thought that I would have made a contribution to BayernLB's entry, with the help and contribution. Then I noticed that it went wrong.
I am sometimes shocked by statements made by those responsible for the supervisory authorities. In retrospect, here are all know-it-alls and right-wingers. Yes, ex post I am also a multiple Nobel Prize winner. - Thanks.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: Thank you, Dr. Kulterer, for your introductory statement.
Chair Doris Bures: Dr. Pilgermair, before you start the first interview: I have a request to speak on the rules of procedure. - Please, Mr Krainer.
Deputy Kai Jan Krainer (SPÖ)(for business handling): I just wanted to ask the respondent because I think you made at least three promises to each other:
You said that the 2004 balance sheet was audited in the first quarter of 2006, just so that we can get it right in the minutes. I take it you mean the 2005 balance sheet (Informant Cultivated: No!) was audited in 2006?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: In the course of the examination of the 2005 balance sheet, the preparation of the balance sheet and the auditing activities in the first quarter of 2006, the 2004 balance sheet was criticized.
Deputy Kai Jan Krainer (SPÖ)(for business handling): I'm not allowed to ask any questions now, just: You said that Haider Bussfeld started in 2014. I take it you mean 2004?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: Sorry, 2004, yes.
Deputy Kai Jan Krainer (SPÖ)(for business handling): And you once said “tax advisor” instead of “taxpayer” - but that doesn't matter. (Informant Cultivated: Okay, well, sorry!) - I noticed these three things. Just so that we can get it right in the minutes.
Chair Doris Bures: Thanks. This will be corrected in the protocol.
So we can get into the Initial survey enter. - Please, Dr. Pilgermair.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: Dr. Kulterer, then we'll start with the first interview. You were a very central person at Hypo, and so there would be a very, very large number of questions. I take out very little and would like to start with the following point:
Every bank is success-oriented and wants to grow and be successful - very clearly - but there is also a difficult connection between an incredibly strong growth bank, such as Hypo, and the question of whether there is sufficient credit risk management, whether enough for it Personnel is there and whether there is enough qualified personnel for it, especially since - as you said yourself - we know that a large part of this turnover was made abroad, with different legal systems, with different qualifications and employees.
How did you see it then and how do you see it now, this tension: on the one hand, you want to grow, it is booming, the balance sheet total and sales are skyrocketing - and on the other hand you know we don't have enough staff and it is not qualified enough? Or was that it? - You're welcome.
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: Thanks for the question. There are two aspects: The market situation in 1998, 1999 and 2000, the establishment of the Balkan states, especially in Slovenia and Croatia, triggered an incredible boom in demand. On the one hand there is this enormous market pressure - we did not actively acquire businesses, but you were overrun with business - and on the other hand a very young force that is being built up. In this area of tension, the control system did not keep up in the way it would have been necessary. But I would also like to say that all banks had this problem at the time. That's so. This is not meant to be an excuse.
The OeNB's 2001/2002 audit report reveals deficiencies for the first time. Based on these deficiencies, the decision was made: We cannot manage Hypo Alpe-Adria as the parent company in the form of a central control unit for the subsidiary banks that have arisen and do business with them at the same time. So the decision was made there that we had to build a different structure and we split the bank.
As far as I can remember, this bank split was the first in Austria at the time, it was complicated and time-consuming. And it is a fact that we got stuck here in the bank split and that the implementation of the guidelines in risk controlling and in the rating systems for Austria was successful, but also because of the various restrictions in the various Balkan countries, but also in Italy lagged behind. It is a fact.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: I don't want to go into greater depth now, but rather change the subject to swap losses and again only pick out one detail, namely the question of when this became known to you and by what means.
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: The diabolical thing about these financial derivative products is that at that time the investment banks kept inventing new products and the most absurd products. It is telling that these swaps are not from one Investment bank, but by five different ones - from Lehman, from Credit Suisse, from Swissfirst, from Barclays and someone else - and all in the same system. I didn't know that, and my treasurer was too naive and allowed these investment banks to rape him. Unfortunately, these products were so unknown in the bank that in reality they couldn't be booked and he should never have signed the contracts. And he even accepted an unlimited loss clause.
When it went wrong, the risk manager informed me that something was going wrong and I took immediate action. When I intervened, the loss was € 175 million, but that wasn't the whole truth. I found out about this in the last days of October and we weren't even able to calculate the losses in the bank itself because the products were so complex. He should never have bought these products. When I immediately cut and said: close all positions! The loss was over 300 million.
The mistake I made afterwards - that's what I say; a purely strategic one, and really, I don't know why, but I had little confidence in the new supervisory board memberships at the time and I haven't spoken to anyone except internally - was that we didn't immediately sue the investment bank and embarked on an offensive strategy, but a defensive that have regrouped. And we would have digested the losses - and that was already booked - for ten years.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: Why did you only find out at the end of October?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: Because the treasurer closed the products without my seeing any of the paper. This has also been proven: I couldn't have known - because the products did not exist.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: Didn't you have anyone in the company who gave you the information?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: No. I only got the information when the risk manager realized that swaps were going completely in the wrong direction. And he reacted immediately. Only: Back then there was a currency bet against the dollar, all currencies against the dollar - that was shortly before the Bush election. Today I know that the investment banks have talked themselves out of it and have all speculated in the same direction. As a treasurer, Mr. Rauscher was naive enough to buy part or a portion of the product from any investment bank.
If all five offer the same thing, I have two conclusions: Either everyone wants to sell the product at a profit, but I cannot assume that if the counterpart is the investment bank, based on the logic that if it becomes a losing business or a Profit business becomes, just the investment bank will take the loss.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: Dr. Kulterer, I want to stick with the information section for now. Now, they say, you found out in the last days of October 2005. Who did you give information to and when?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: We solved the problem internally, solved it credibly, and were convinced it was solved. Then in May 2005 I informed the new Presidium of the Supervisory Board about it. (Trial judge Pilgermair: In May …?) - May 2005. I am responsible for the accounting in the 2004 balance sheet and have been sanctioned for it.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: “Supervisory Board Presidium” means by name?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: That was Dr. Moser and Ederer. (Trial judge Pilgermair: Just the two informed?) - Just the two.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: Who else did you inform? (Informant Cultivated: You mean from ...?) Whom always.
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: Nobody. The internal divisional managers, department heads with whom we developed the booking system or said we can post it, they knew about it. And then I informed the presidium. And by that point we had, I think, already cut 150 million or 120 million from the risk.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: And when did you speak to the owners?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: The owner representatives were Moser and Ederer.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: Yes, yes. But haven't you spoken to GRAWE or the state holding company?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: GRAWE was there, Dr. Ederer was a representative of the state holding company.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: And he also had the say in GRAWE?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: Naturally.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: And in the state holding?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: The state holding was represented on the supervisory board by delegates. But I did not inform the state holding company, but the chairman of the supervisory board.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: And did he pass on the information?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: I do not know that.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: Did you talk to state politicians about it?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: No.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: When did you first talk to a state politician about these losses?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: Either a day or two before March 31, 2006, i.e. shortly before it came to the public, or shortly afterwards. I can't remember that exactly. There was a conversation with Dr. Haider, who at that time, as far as I can remember, was also the finance officer of the state of Carinthia.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: The informant Stefan Petzner also described it that way. It is said to have been in a restaurant in Klagenfurt that evening.
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: I can't remember that exactly.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: And little after that it became known in the “Kronen Zeitung”.
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: Yes, it was published on the evening of March 31, 2006.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: Change of subject, now to the Bayerische Landesbank. (Informant Cultivated: Yes!)
Who determined the strategy of the sales negotiations and who played a key role in the negotiations on the Austrian side?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: I have to go back in a few sentences. The contact to the Bayerische Landesbank was made by Tilo Berlin. There was contact between me and Mr. Schmidt beforehand, but not as head of the Bayerische Landesbank.
The Bayerische Landesbank or Berlin... Berlin and Co have negotiated a loan with the Bayerische Landesbank and also with other banks in relation to the financing of the purchase of around 16 percent of the shares in Graz Mutuals by Berlin and Co. That was a package of around 400 million.
It was logical for the Bayerische Landesbank to send its experts and also ask me what the value of the bank is. Well, I can't just put out 450 million financing for 16 percent of the shares without carefully examining the collateral object, that was the shares, these 16 percent, i.e. how the company is put together. This check or analysis ran until around mid-March, I estimate, in the middle or end of March 2007. And then I realized for the first time and also signaled that the Bayerische Landesbank wants more and is interested in participating after their deal failed with BAWAG.
When it got virulent, I made an appointment with Dr. Haider organized and said to him: Mr. Governor, since there seems to be an interest here, you have to - he was with 50 percent of the Carinthians per du, including me - appoint someone who then sits at the table and for them when things get virulent Land holding negotiates. And you also have to clarify this internally with your coalition partner! There was a strict syndicate agreement between the state holding company and GRAWE on the question of whether a majority acquisition by Bavaria was even conceivable.
Haider said: Okay, I'll think about it.
After a week he called me back and said he had someone who would accompany these sales negotiations for the province of Carinthia. I don't know whether he discussed this with Martinz from the state holding or not. At that time I was the chairman of the bank's supervisory board and, in that sense, not a shareholder representative. When he then gave me the name Birnbacher, I took a long look at him and asked if he was serious, because this is a billion-dollar transaction, and I personally would be of the opinion that an international law firm or investment bank would do the negotiations or Representation of the country's shares should perceive.
His answer was, that has been discussed with Martinz, and so I don't need to worry about it. I was still worried because then it was always about payment. Then I also asked: Who pays the Birnbacher? The answer was that he has a flat fee of € 100,000 and nothing else need bother me. And that was it.
A short time afterwards, when the negotiations really started, Birnbacher was at the table for the direct operational discussions.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: Who determined the position for how much is sold, for example on the question of warranty yes or no?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: The price specification came from Berlin and Co. The discussion that I had with Schmidt at the time about the weak equity base and the question of what buffer does the bank have for a risk is documented in a letter that I hope you know and which Schmidt is about to use wrote the closing. At the time I said: It is essential to reserve € 250 million for further risk provisions. He then reduced the purchase price by this amount, not to the delight of Berlin and Co.
At the time, the negotiations were led by Berlin and Co. I was on the sidelines, negotiating prices, but never negotiating final prices.
The contracts were negotiated by lawyers. There are lawyers who, I believe, represented Berlin and Co, and also the state holding company at the same time. And on the other hand, there were Bavarian lawyers and investment banks of various calibres.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair: You spoke about the state guarantees and said that you were not interested in them. From the bank's point of view, you said it was a deal. If I remembered your statement correctly, it would be infidelity not to notice it.
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: No, if I can borrow money on the market more cheaply with the state liability, then I cannot issue a bond and say: of my own accord, as a bank manager, I waive the state liability. That makes the bond more expensive. I can't do that.
There is no question whatsoever that these liabilities, or the volume of liability, as we all know today - largely triggered by the financial crisis - were too large. Only in those years, also when the bank was split up, was I astonished that Hypo International was given liability and not just the subsidiary Hypo Austria, i.e. the original Hypo.
I mean, at the time nobody thought about the financial crisis and liabilities, what that meant, or that it could ever hit. One has to say: we are talking about a period that is four years before the financial crisis, four years before Lehman.
Trial judge Dr. Walter Pilgermair:Dr. Kulterer, the time for the first survey has expired. I thank you for your answers.
Chair Doris Bures: Thank you very much, Dr. Pilgrim fair! Thank you for your initial statement and the initial survey.
We start the first round of questions. The first is Dr. Hable. - You're welcome.
Deputy Dr. Rainer Hable (NEOS): Dr. Cult, we're not going to start with the Puris Cause. Just for the sake of completeness, I would like to add that it is not my job to determine whether a few hundred thousand euros kickback has now flowed or not, but the question is: How did the state authorities deal with this information? That is my job as a Member of this House, that is the job of parliamentary control, the control of the other state powers.
As I said, we may come to Puris later. I would like to address another issue beforehand. The other day we had Mr Mikscha, Jörg Haider's former private secretary and FPÖ federal manager, on the committee of inquiry. How was your relationship with Mr. Mikscha?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: I can clear up a misunderstanding right away. You have received a table of appointments, but unfortunately there are two Mikscha, it was researched badly. That's it, sorry!
Deputy Dr. Rainer Hable (NEOS): We haven't researched it, that is yourAppointment calendar. If you entered that incorrectly ...
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: No, no, I can explain that to you very clearly, I would be happy to.
Regarding Gerry Mikscha: I don't know exactly how long he was secretary at Haider. But as long as he was with him, I had little to do with him. Whenever I had meetings with Haider, he was there.
After that, Gerry Mikscha left and then came, I think that was sometime in 2001, 2002, with Dr. Burger, the boss of the Hofer Group, to me and established the contact because Hofer wanted to set up a complete branch network in Slovenia and use the know-how of Hypo in Slovenia.
As a result, 50 or 60 Hofer branches were opened over the next few years. There were a few appointments where Gerry Mikscha always acted as an intermediary between Hofer and the house, but not only with me, but also with our leasing people. A very good, friction-free business relationship has developed with Hofer in Slovenia, with great volume and great success. Gerry Mikscha worked there for Hofer, but not for Hypo. And first of all: There was no commission agreement or other payments to any Mr. Gerry Mikscha.
The second Mr. Mikscha, Branko Mikscha, was CFO of the Agrokor Group. Agrokor is still one of the most famous and best corporations in Croatia today. It covers the whole range from the field to the convenience store, i.e. to the wholesale market. We had this as a customer right from the start, extremely successful, a lot of financing was done with them, there was a good relationship. And as far as I can remember, his CFO was Branko Mikscha at the time, and he also visited me more often because there were always meetings afterwards. - That to clarify.
Deputy Dr. Rainer Hable (NEOS): How often did you then meet Mr. Gerry Mikscha, the former FPÖ federal manager?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: I don't know, maybe ten, twelve times, I don't know, I don't know anymore.
Deputy Dr. Rainer Hable (NEOS): In which period?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: You ask me things! That was twelve years ago, I didn't study my calendar. But I guess it must have been three, four years, or two years. I really don't know anymore.
Deputy Dr. Rainer Hable (NEOS): If you put Mikscha in your diary, so only Mikscha, who do you mean, Gerry Mikscha or the Croatian Mikscha?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: This can mean anyone.
Deputy Dr. Rainer Hable (NEOS): Then how do you know?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: During the time when there were intensive discussions with Hofer, it was definitely Gerry Mikscha, and this period can be narrowed down. But for that I need the documents.
Deputy Dr. Rainer Hable (NEOS): Again: In what period of time did you deal with Mr. Gerry Mikscha?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: First in the period when he was secretary at Haider, and then he disappeared from the ground - I guess until 2004, 2005, but I don't remember exactly. After that there was no more contact with him.
Deputy Dr. Rainer Hable (NEOS): Hofer was 2001, 2002, you said. Then what was until 2005?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: You have to show me the papers. I just can't remember everything, that won't work, we're talking about 14 years back.
Deputy Dr. Rainer Hable (NEOS): And what was the content of the meeting with Mr. Mikscha?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: He kept in touch with Hofer.
Deputy Dr. Rainer Hable (NEOS): But there have been other meetings with him.
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: I don't know, if so, then you have to tell me and hold it against me.
Deputy Dr. Rainer Hable (NEOS): We'll get to that.
How is your relationship with Mr. Gaston Glock?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: I have Gaston Glock, I guess, in 2004 or 2000 got to know. The contact is made by Dr. Hans Quendler, business lawyer, he was also the lawyer for the state of Carinthia at the time. This is a purely private contact, no business connection was made on my part.
Deputy Dr. Rainer Hable (NEOS): You haven't had any joint projects with Mr. Gaston Glock, either personally or through Hypo?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: I don't know anything about the business contacts at Hypo, I didn't look after them. There was a big story back then, which, interestingly, was published on the morning of my press conference in November 2010, after my release from pretrial detention, which was also deliberately played by the Milestones agency. In the morning I got the message that I had withdrawn € 3 million in Liechtenstein.
Deputy Dr. Rainer Hable (NEOS): We'll get to that. (Informant Cultivated: No, just a moment, I want to clear that up!) But that does not concern my question.
Dr. Kulterer, I ask for your understanding, we have a limited time available. You had 20 minutes for your opening statement. I ask you to answer only my questions. (Informant Cultivated: It's okay, please!) - We'll get to it.
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: There is only one business relationship with Gaston Glock, one single, one Glock Foundation. As far as I can remember, she certainly had great dispositions at Hypo - after my time - and then withdrew them after this event. There were also major disagreements.
Deputy Dr. Rainer Hable (NEOS): Have there been meetings with Mr. Mikscha or Mr. Glock in Liechtenstein?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: No. Mr. Glock was never in Liechtenstein.
Deputy Dr. Rainer Hable (NEOS): With Mr. Mikscha?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: Neither do I, I can't remember.
Deputy Dr. Rainer Hable (NEOS): For sure?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: So I can't go to any meeting ... I was accompanied by Dr. Quendler in the bank in Liechtenstein and accompanied a transaction there that Dr. Quendler as a lawyer of trust, authorized representative of Mr. Glock, handled there.
Deputy Dr. Rainer Hable (NEOS): OK. We'll get to that in a few seconds.
Do you know a man who goes by the code name "Panama-Charly"?
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: No.
Deputy Dr. Rainer Hable (NEOS): Well then I have to explain.
Panama-Charly is the asset manager of Mr. Gaston Glock, who has invested his assets in Panama, among other places - hence Panama-Charly. And Mr Glock obviously had differences with his asset manager. I am presenting you with a document on this. Please review and let me know when you're done and I'll move on. (Informant Cultivated: Yes!) The document has the number 474062. (A document is presented to the person providing the information.)
Dr. Wolfgang Kulterer: What do you want to know from me about that?
Deputy Dr. Rainer Hable (NEOS): Now comes the question, and on that I quote from this official memorandum. This is an interrogation at the Klagenfurt public prosecutor's office by Mr Lohr, director of the Glock Foundation. Among other things, it is stated here - I quote -:
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