"Robin Hood" banker sent to prison

BERLIN Thu Jun 14, 2007 3:07pm EDT

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BERLIN (Reuters) - A German banker who stole money from rich clients to help poor ones has been sentenced to two years and 10 months in prison, a court said Thursday. The 45-year-old, dubbed by German media as a modern day Robin Hood, diverted 2.1 million euros ($2.79 million) to clients he felt were needy while holding a senior position at a savings bank in the southern region of Tauberfranken.

"The accused undertook these actions to grant liquidity to clients who, in his view, were short of money and who no longer got loans under the usual money market conditions," said a statement issued by the court in the southern town of Mosbach.

But the man soon lost track of the funds he had misappropriated, as well as where they had come from, it added.

A spokeswoman for the court said the man, a German of Yugoslavian origin, had not enriched himself during the scam.

His scheme was uncovered when he turned himself in to police in 2006, the spokeswoman said. This was just when local media had begun to get wind of the story, she added.

Prosecutors said the man managed to plug some of the financial holes he had created, so that the net losses to the Sparkasse Tauberfranken bank were ultimately some 640,000 euros.

The court said the man had made a full confession to the five year ruse, which ended in January 2006. He has the right to appeal the court's decision.

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