Industry News

German Paper Says Manwin May Lose Their Bank

from ynot.com

YNOT – The second-largest German bank may sever its relationship with a Manwin subsidiary as early as Monday, according to a report in the German newspaper Die Welt.

Founded in 1870, Commerzbank, a global banking and financial services company headquartered in Frankfurt, is second in size only to Deutsche Bank. Commerzbank maintains branches in London, Luxembourg, Poland, Spain and Switzerland, and is one of the leading acquiring banks for online transactions.

According to Die Welt, Commerzbank cited a concern about “reputational risks” should it continue its banking relationship with websites including Amateur-Sexportal and MyDirtyHobby. Both are German tube sites allegedly owned and operated by a Manwin subsidiary in Cyprus.

German regulations allow banks to terminate accounts at any time in order to preserve their reputations. Commerzbank may be especially sensitive about its reputation, since the German government provided it with an infusion of 18.2 billion euros in December 2008 and January 2009 in order to see the bank through the global financial crisis.

“The [Cologne] prosecutors [who have charged Manwin Managing Partner Fabian Thylmann with tax evasion] are now interested in who actually operates My Dirty Hobby,” Lars-Marten Nagle wrote in Die Welt’s Sunday edition. “According to Thylmann, a Cypriot subsidiary of is responsible … but there are indications that the [Cypriot] company is located in the Hamburg [offices of] Manwin Germany GmbH, which has raised the suspicion [that the Commerzbank accounts may be involved in] tax evasion.

“…[F]ormer Manwin GmbH employees have reported that Commerzbank employees have visited the company’s Hamburg offices several times,” Nagle continued. “Whether these visits had to do with the account of the Cypriots or whether there are other reasons, the bank did not explain, citing banking confidentiality.”

Perhaps as a consequence of the bank’s potential action, Manwin Holding Sarl on Monday released its first public statement since Thylmann’s arrest in early December.

Manwin’s managing partner is currently the subject of an investigation by the German tax authorities and accordingly, no conclusion was reached in this matter — as of the date of this release.

Manwin’s global operations remain unaffected and, as is customary with our company, we will not comment on pending legal matters.

At this time, we request that the media respects the privacy of Manwin associates, employees, as well as their families.

We are grateful for the support we received, and look forward to having this matter resolved. Until then, there will be no further comments.

Thylmann remained in custody in Germany on Monday. Cologne prosecutors repeatedly have declined to comment further about the case.

According to Die Welt, parent company Manwin Holding Sarl owns and operates an “intricate network” of more than 35 companies located in Luxembourg, Germany, Canada, Ireland, the UK, the U.S. and Cyprus.

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