The boss and founder of bankrupt independent bank DSB has called for a parliamentary inquiry into the bank’s collapse and says the company was ‘destroyed’.
Amsterdam district court declared DSB bankrupt on Monday morning after last ditch attempts to find a buyer or boost the bank’s solvency failed.
But Dirk Scheringa, the former policeman who founded the financial services group 30 years ago, told a news conference after the court decision: ‘we did not go bankrupt, we were destroyed’.
Talks this weekend with US group Lone Star were over in 15 minutes after its representatives talked to the curators, he said. And he accused the finance ministry and central bank of leaking information about the bank’s finances to the media, which led to a run on savings.
‘We were destroyed by book-keeping tricks. It is insane, very bitter that this could happen,’ Scheringa said.
And he attacked finance minister Wouter Bos for refusing to lend the bank €100m which would have helped restore necessary solvency levels following the run. ‘If Wouter Bos had made €100m available, the bank would have been saved. Now society will have to deal with €1.5bn-worth of damage.’
Some 1,300 people have lost their jobs immediately with the bank’s collapse.
Scheringa admitted his bank had made mistakes but said it had learned from them. DSB came under fire earlier this year for charging too-high fees on insurance policies and extending home owners mortgages they could not afford.
‘We had 500,000 customers and problems with just a few of them,’ the Telegraaf reported him as saying.
At the beginning of October, Pieter Lakeman, who represents some 3,000 duped DSB customers, called on people to take their money out of the bank and force its bankruptcy.
Scheringa also denied DSB’s investments in AZ football club and a modern art museum were his hobbies. ‘They are functioning companies,’ he said.
Personally Scheringa, who had been worth some €285m according to Quote magazine’s rich list, said he had lost all his money. ‘I only still have my house,’ he told reporters.
Four inquiries are so far under way into the collapse of DSB, the Telegraaf reported on Monday. The financial services authority AFM is continuing with an investigation it started in March into the bank’s selling methods.
Meanwhile, finance minister Bos said last week the role of the AFM and the central bank would be subject of a second inquiry.
The AFM and the central bank are also carrying out a third inquiry into the role of DSB management and former managers, including Gerrit Zalm, who now heads ABN Amro.
And the police are looking into the way information about DSB’s difficulties was leaked to the media. That inquiry will focus on the central bank and finance ministry, the Telegraaf said.
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