It was about two months ago when in a shocking development in the otherwise sleepy tax-evasion haven of Lichtenstein, the CEO of local Bank Frick, was murdered in the underground garage of the bank by a disgruntled former client. As readers may recall, the tragic event happened at a time when there was a spike in banker suicides, prompting us to wonder if "with the first open bank CEO murder, one wonders if there will be a change in the pattern." Two months later it appears as if the vector of death is indeed changing when, as Reuters reported, overnight the head of the fourth largest bank in Albania, Credins, was murdered, shot at least five times, as he entered his office in the capital Tirana.
Several witnesses said Artan Santo was shot at least five times by two men on a motorcycle at a busy crossroads just off Tirana's main boulevard where the bank's offices are located.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the killing. Police have offered a reward of 10,000 euros (7996 pounds) for anyone who can provide information on his killers.
Witnesses said Santo's body lay for half an hour under a white sheet as police investigated the scene.
A former director of Albania's Savings Bank, which was bought by Austria's Raiffeisen 10 years ago, Santo, 58, left to lead Credins Bank, established by a group of Albanian businessmen. Fifteen of them control almost 72 percent of Credins shares.
Under Santo's management, Credins Bank grew to become Albania's fourth largest by deposits, with a 7.9 percent market share in 2012. Santo was among the shareholders. He also owned a large stake in a media group.
Santo was well known in the Balkan country for his acting role as a boy who overcame adversity to climb a mountain in the 1970 Albanian film The Courageous.
At least in the Lichtenstein murder the killer was quickly caught. This time it will be far more complicated, especially since it appears to have been much more than a merely case of angry clients. Luckily, for now one can dismiss these "terminal" events as they are both isolated and taking place in obscure European locales. That too may soon change, especially if the global central bankers do all they can to push wealth disparity between the haves and have nots to fresh record highs.
In the meantime, unfortunately, the "boy who overcame adversity to climb a mountain in the 1970 Albanian film The Courageous" is now dead.