Mild verdict for cheating banker due to depression

A banker who embezzled more than six million Euros of clients’ money has been given a relatively mild sentence when judges heard he suffers from bipolar disorder.The ex-clerk – who was sacked in October 2008 – was sentenced to one year in prison at Vienna’s Criminal Court yesterday (Weds). The man has managed to disguise his actions by setting up bank accounts under a false name since 2007 before he was eventually exposed in a bank-internal investigation.It emerged in court that he managed to pay back nearly five million of the 6.4 million Euros of customers’ assets which he squandered in high-risk speculative deals.Judges rejected state prosecutors’ appeals to get the 44-year-old defendant behind bars for longer when a medical expert revealed that he has been suffering from a manic-depressive illness. The doctor explained that the man can be held responsible for his wrongdoings nevertheless. However, he also suggested that the disease should be regarded as a factor to keep the verdict comparably low.It was not revealed in the trial whether the man’s superiors knew of his illness.The court case took place three months after a former Erste Bank clerk, 48, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for losing 4.1 million Euros of customers’ money in risky investments.