Insurance refuses to pay: Judicial crime for empty bank vault | Regional

insurance refuses to pay |

Trial thriller about an empty bank vault

Dusseldorf – A good three years ago, nearly a million euros went missing from a Düsseldorf district savings bank vault. To this day, the perpetrator has not been identified. The case only became known when the financial institution and the insurer argued in court.

In the process, major security breaches at the bank in question were revealed on Thursday. “Everyone who works there could access the keys. That gives me a bit of a stomach ache,” the presiding judge said at the end of the several-hour hearing in the civil trial at the Düsseldorf district court.

The presiding judge was stunned by the security breaches at the bank branch at the time.

The presiding judge was stunned by the security breaches at the bank branch at the time.

Photo: Meike Wirsel

An unknown individual emptied the vault completely on June 26, 2019; since then there has been no trace of 934,000 euros. Since then, police investigations into three suspects have been discontinued: none of them could be substantiated.

The Kreissparkasse Düsseldorf would now like to be reimbursed by their insurance company for the missing sum, but they are blocking it.

Although three keys were needed to get from the room with the customers’ lockers through two doors to the vault, the bank employees who were interviewed as witnesses said unanimously. But these three keys were kept together in a gray box, as a bank employee testified. Virtually all employees had access to the keys, which was not recorded.

Bank employees described in the process how they noticed the loss of money at that time

Bank employees described in the process how they noticed the loss of money at that time

Photo: Meike Wirsel

In the meantime, the processes have changed and the money is kept in a different place, said the manager of the branch in Erkrath, whose vault the money disappeared from when he was not the boss there.

While the district savings bank argues that it could have been a robbery and that there are corresponding pry marks on a door, the defendant insurance company denies this. The question whether the sum should be reimbursed depends on this.

Does the insurance replace at least 50 percent of the loss?

The regional court had suggested that the insurance pay 40 percent of the missing amount. But the lawyer for the district savings bank refused, on the basis of which a comparison could not be agreed upon. At the end of the negotiation, he staked 50 percent as his own proposal. The insurance company’s attorney promised to pass on the offer, but was unable to recommend it.

Because just because pry marks have been discovered on a door doesn’t mean it was actually broken. “That was an insider. That’s probably clear,” the insurance company attorney said.

According to witnesses, the thief would have also had to break through the vault door, which could only be opened with two keys at the same time. There was no video surveillance in front of or inside the vault.

A bank employee (38) wanted to lower the “daily income” at the end of the day that day. He noticed that the door in front of the vault was only closed. However, she is sure that she completed it twice at noon, as usual.

When the woman came back upstairs and said that all the money in the vault was gone, she initially thought it was a joke, a colleague (48) reported, especially since she was there at lunchtime to count and everything was still in order. In disbelief, she ran downstairs herself and looked everywhere: “All topics were empty.”

Whoever took all the money didn’t leave a signature this time. The court has set a hearing date for November 17. (dpa, mho)

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