GKB Confirms 60 Million Loan to Signa Group for the First Time

GKB Confirms 60 Million Loan to Signa Group for the First Time

Fri, Mar 15th 2024

Graubündner Kantonalbank validates a significant loan to Signa Group, ensuring strong collateral as scrutiny over the deal intensifies.


The President of Graubündner Kantonalbank (GKB), Peter Fanconi, confirmed the rumors about a 60 million franc loan on Friday. The money went to the Signa Group of the troubled real estate mogul René Benko.

The loan is secured by first-class collateral, Fanconi told the Graubünden daily newspaper “Südostschweiz”. The Globus building in Zurich serves as collateral. From the bank’s point of view, such a loan makes perfect sense.

Nevertheless, Graubünden Finance Director Martin Bühler (FDP) made it public on Thursday that an external investigation had been initiated by the auditing firm Ernst & Young into the granting of this loan. The results are expected in the coming weeks.

At the weekend, the Sonntagszeitung newspaper quoted from emails that allegedly show conversations between Fanconi and Benko. These are said to show that Fanconi may have received benefits because he indirectly helped Benko obtain loans from other cantonal banks. Fanconi is said to have acted as a “door opener”.

However, his spokesperson emphasised that Fanconi had never received any benefits. We will have to see where these allegations go, at the current time their relationship is not totally clear.

Other Cantonal Banks Also Involved

In addition to Bank Julius Baer, several cantonal banks also granted the troubled real estate mogul Benko millions in loans, including the Zurich and Aargau cantonal banks. The latter granted loans of 73 million francs.

The Aargau government commented on this at the beginning of the month and described the transactions as “low-risk” in comparison. The loans are property financing with long-term rental agreements.


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