28. 10. 12. - 16:24
Court gives back stolen cash to armed robber
An Austrian court has ordered a bank robber be given back 63,000 Euros that he stole 19 years ago because they can't find anybody else to take the money.
Otto Neuman, now aged 63, was a bank manager and the ringleader of a gang that stole Austrian schillings to the value of around 180,000 euros as well as gold bars and gold coins 19 years ago, and by the time police found them only 63,000 and the gold could be recovered.
Acording to a report in the daily nerwspaper Heute the rest of the money had vanished.
At his trial in 1993 defended by lawyer Herbert Eichenseder, the court heard how the then 44-year-old Neuman had run into financial difficulties and had arranged, together with two friends, to stage a fake bank robbery at his own branch in order to get the money to pay off his debts.
During his trial he handed over what was left of the money stolen from the Erste Bank in Vienna's Doebling district to court officials, and it has been sitting at the Austrian Justice Ministry ever since because nobody wanted to claim it.
Herbert Eichenseder confirmed that he been contacted by court officials in May and asked to provide bank account information so that they could hand the money back to his former client – who had been jailed for 3 1/2 years for the raid.
The lawyer who was unsure whether the court was making a mistake had first of all checked with the bank where the robbery took place, and was told by managers that what had been stolen had been paid back in full by their insurance company - and they no longer had any entitlement to the money. They therefore refused to take it.
But when he questioned the insurance company he discovered that they also felt they did not have any right to the money because the gold which had been stolen had been valued and the money for the gold paid out. But by the time the gold had been recovered it had also substantially increased in value.
That gold was automatically the property of the insurance company as they had already compensated the bank for it, and the increasing value had been used to write off the 180,000 Euros that they had paid to compensate the bank for the cash that was stolen. That meant they also no longer had a deficit on their books for what had been paid, and also refused to take the money.
Eichenseder said: "I really didn't believe what the court were telling me but I checked it and it was correct.
I had to go into the archives in our cellar to find the details of the case as it was already 19 years old – and I managed to track down the man's details and contacted him to tell him the news.
"To say that he was surprised was an understatement, but he provided his bank account details and the money has now been transferred."