It is not only the largest bank failure in Europe since the Great Depression of 1932, it also threatens to take a global corporation down with it. It is caused by the golden boys, as the currency traders from the Herstatt Bank are known in Cologne. For years, they have made big profits for the bank from foreign currency speculation, but then, unchecked and with criminal intent, they decide to play for high stakes. The bank goes into the red by almost 500 million.
On 26 June 1974, the German banking authorities close the Herstatt Bank in the middle of trading. The next day, hundreds of savers and mid-sized companies find the doors closed. Their savings are lost and many are ruined. The slogan of Herstatt Bank was "Banking is not a game of chance." But its golden boys turned the bank into a casino and gambled away amounts worth several times its capital and deposits.
Writers: Eva and Volker Zahn
Producers: Michael Souvignier, Uwe Kersken, Till Derenbach
G5 fiction with Zeitsprung Pictures for the WDR (public service television), editors Alexander Bickel & Henrike Vieregge and Degeto, editor Christine Strobl.