Punishing the greed of bankers
The decision by Greece’s Development Ministry yesterday to impose a hefty fine on Citibank for having misled its customers is most certainly a welcome move. The bank was found to have been selling non-guaranteed financial products of Lehman Brothers as 100 percent capital-guaranteed. Regrettably, it has transpired that in many cases Greek and foreign banks chose to withhold crucial information when selling high-risk products to their frequently unsuspecting customers. In some cases, bank employees went as far as to hold out the promise of guaranteed returns from their investment products when they knew that this could not be guaranteed. The temptation of high commissions has led to extreme advertising methods as well as unethical and even illegal practices. Both the state and the judicial system have a duty to protect consumers against unlawful commercial practices and punish those who have resorted to using such methods in the past.