An Austrian court has ordered a bank robber be given back £51,000 that he stole 19 years ago.
Bank manager Otto Neuman stole £150,000 in cash as well as gold bars and gold coins from his own branch in 1993.
After getting into financial difficulties, he recruited two accomplices to stage a fake robbery at the Erste Bank in Vienna’s Doebling district.
By the time police caught up with them, only £51,000 and the gold could be recovered. The rest of the money had gone.
The gold went to the insurance company which had already paid the bank for its loss but the cash has been sitting at the Austrian Justice Ministry ever since.
Neuman’s lawyer, Herbert Eichenseder, confirmed he been recently been contacted by court officials and asked to help return the stolen money to his client.
The bank felt it had no claim on the money because it had been compensated in full by its insurance company.
And the insurers said they didn’t want it as they had not lost out either. They stolen gold had increased in value so much that it covered all of the money paid to the bank.
Mr Eichenseder said: “I really didn’t believe what the court were telling me but I checked it and it was correct.
“I had to go into the archives in our cellar to find the details of the case as it was already 19 years old – and I managed to track down the man’s details and contacted him to tell him the news.
“To say that he was surprised was an understatement, but he provided his bank account details and the money has now been transferred.”