The chief executive of HypoLandesbank Vorarlberg, an Austrian lender mentioned in the massive "Panama Papers" data leak, has become one of the first top bankers to quit over reports based on those files.
Michael Grahammer, who has been chief executive since 2012, has told the bank he is stepping down, the lender said today, adding his decision was a surprise.
Austrian broadcaster ORF is one of the more than 100 news organisations that investigated the trove of data leaked from a Panama-based law firm.
It said the bank was connected to offshore companies through trustees in Liechtenstein.
Austrian financial markets regulator FMA is investigating whether Hypo Vorarlberg and another Austrian bank mentioned in the Panama Papers reports, Raiffeisen Bank International, took steps required to prevent money laundering.
"I remain 100% convinced that the bank at no point violated laws or sanctions," Grahammer said in a statement issued by the bank.
The bank is majority-owned by the province of Vorarlberg, which borders Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
The decision was the result of various developments in th epast year, he said, adding: "In the end, the media's prejudgement of Hypo Vorarlberg and of myself in recent days was decisive for me in taking this step."
ABN Amro board member Meerstadt resigns after 'Panama Papers' report
Meanwhile, a prominent member of the supervisory board of Dutch bank ABN Amro resigned today, after he was named in a Dutch newspaper in connection with the "Panama Papers" leaks.
In a statement Bert Meerstadt said he had already planned to step down from the bank's board later this year but had decided to do so immediately to avoid any "negative effects" on the bank following the newspaper report.
He said "for the time being" he would not answer any further questions raised by the report.
The Het Financieele Dagblad newspaper did not allege any wrongdoing.
But it questioned why Bert Meerstadt's name appeared on a 2001 document found in the data archive leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca as a founding shareholder of a company called Morclan Corporation, initially registered in the Virgin Islands and soon afterwards moved to Guernsey.
Meerstadt was quoted in the report as saying he had no knowledge of Morclan Corp and suggested someone else might have put his name on the document without his knowledge.
Meerstadt, a former head of the management board at Dutch railways company NS Groep, was also quoted as saying that he planned to leave ABN Amro's board in the course of 2016 as he held too many other board positions.