Hypo Group Alpe Adria

The “Independent Commission of Inquiry for the Transparent Investigation of the Events Surrounding the Hypo Group Alpe‐Adria” published its report in December 2014. The summary of the abstract:

The events surrounding HGAA are characterised by undesirable developments and mistakes on the level of the Land and of the Federation. The quick expansion of the bank was only possible due to the liability of the Land of Carinthia, without the latter having been able to fulfil the respective obligations. When the crisis became obvious, the responsible decision‐makers refrained from adequately processing the necessary information, from examining the legal framework to a sufficient degree and from proceeding in a strategic way by developing alternative scenarios and making decisions based on those scenarios.

This began with the Land of Carinthia maintaining its liability for the debts of HBInt and HBA in spite of the rapid expansion abroad. The Land was responsible for a bank whose management tried to exploit the business opportunities in South Eastern Europe without being equipped with the necessary risk management systems and control mechanisms. It is not apparent that the auditors, the bank supervision and the Land of Carinthia (Kärntner Landesholding) made sufficient use of the opportunities open to them in order to work towards limiting the risks.

This continued with the decision of the Republic of Austria to purchase all shares of HBInt without sufficiently examining alternative scenarios and implementing them into a negotiating strategy.

And it ended ‐ in relation to the investigation period ‐ with the lack of a strategy for the time after the nationalisation: The State aid proceedings were not conducted with the necessary commitment; the decision on the establishment of a bad bank was delayed based on extraneous motives; the reappraisal of the past became an end in itself.

Against this background, the Land of Carinthia must be blamed for maintaining its liability thereby enabling the bank to expand abroad despite a lack of sufficient control systems. As regards the Federation, it must be held that the nationalisation cannot be referred to as „emergency nationalisation”, because it was – at least as regards its embodiment – not the only alternative. And it cannot be conceded that as the sole owner of HBInt the Republic of Austria took its decisions for the benefit of the bank and of the public.