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Monday, June 10, 2013

Bank Employee Falls Asleep On Keyboard, Transfers €222,222,222.22 By Mistake

Think only coked up and hyper hedgefund traders pose a systemic risk? As this AFP story reveals, somnolent, undercaffeinated tellers can be just as threatening to the global flow of funds.

A "German bank employee fell asleep on his keyboard and accidentally transformed a minor transfer into a 222 million euro ($293 million) order, a court heard Monday. The Hessen labour court heard that the man was supposed to transfer just 62.40 euros from a bank account belonging to a retiree, but instead "fell asleep for an instant, while pushing onto the number 2 key on the keyboard" -- making it a huge 222,222,222.22 euro order." Nearly a third of a billion mistake blamed on a "sleepy finger?" That's a new one...

Was the recipient of this "accident" supposed to be some Italian or Spanish bank we wonder?

Luckily, not one Russian oligrach depositor was impaired as a result of this epic mistake, since the transaction was promptly unwound and the bank corrected the error. Where things get even funnier, and why this was ultimately taken to court, is because the sleepy man's 48-year old colleague let the mistake slip through when verifying the order. This promptly resulted in his termination.

In return, the German court promptly ruled that the plaintiff should be reinstated.

So next time you wire money from one account to another at a bank office, may we suggest finding the one clerk with an Ambien addiction. Because one never knows.