A major financial institution in Germany has sparked outrage after they terminated a politician’s account because of his political views. Tino Chrupalla, leader of the right-wing political party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), had his account canceled by PostBank on Friday.
Speaking with Louis Klamroth, host of Hart aber Fair, alongside Christian Democratic Union member Mario Voigt, Green Party politician Katrin Göring-Eckardt, and two journalists from Spiegel and ZeitChrupalla, Chupalla described the widespread prejudices against the AfD: “On Friday my account was canceled by Postbank because I’m an AfD member,” he said.
Chrupalla, whose shocking admission was met with disbelief by Klamroth and the others, continued adding that being cut off from banking services proves “that members of the party are being ‘excluded and discredited’ and that they are no longer allowed to express their opinions freely.”
Although a spokesperson for Deutsche Bank refused to speak specifically on Chrupalla’s situation due to client privacy law, he did suggest that individuals can be “de-banked” due to their political beliefs.
“In principle, both business partners have the opportunity to terminate an account without giving reasons,” he said.
In addition, a decision made by the Federal Court of Justice several years ago stated that implementing a regulation on a bank’s ability to terminate someone’s checking account without justification is an “inadmissible interference with the private autonomy of banks.”
News of Deutsche Bank’s decision to close Chrupalla’s account was met with criticism online. In a post on X (formerly Twitter), free speech advocate and writer Keith Woods described Chrupalla’s situation as no accident.
“This year, the German Institute for Human Rights, a major state-funded think-tank, and the influential magazine Der Spiegel called for the banning of the AfD as ‘enemies of the constitution.’ The German President also suggested his support for banning the party,” wrote Woods.
“This comes at a time when AfD is at record popularity – a poll this week showed that the AfD is within one point of being tied for the largest party in Germany.”
Another X user and AfD member who goes by the handle @WagnerJoac responded to Wood’s post, explaining that the party is being wrongfully labeled as “Nazis” because of its skyrocketing popularity.
“All the old parties (CDU, SPD, Greens, FDP) have built a so-called firewall against us. This means: The AfD does not receive any TV appearances and is branded as Nazis, right-wing extremists and hostile to democracy in all mass media,” the user wrote, adding: “Nevertheless, the AfD is at 21% across Germany and over 30% in the east.”
This is not the first time a member of AfD has had their bank account terminated.
In 2020, Björn Höcke and his wife similarly lost their checking accounts because of their affiliation with the party. Notably, the bank did not provide a reason why, but instead referenced its terms and conditions.