Europe and the financial mafia – a love affair

About a year ago I wrote about how US measures on curbing tax evasion had unnecessary repercussions on innocent citizens worldwide. Meanwhile I got used to be ripped off by dubious financial institutions that started controlling all sorts of money transactions in Europe.

No doubt, the majority of European citizens must support measures that stop the unethical practices of the rich to evade taxes by moving their assets to some dubious offshore financial institutions while fattening their bellies thanks to our state support. Recent observations however make me believe that European states are doing the opposite: financial transactions are increasingly becoming a source for unjustified rents by a number of strange organizations. One example is a flight ticket that I bought online from Iberia, the Spanish national Airline. Not long ago, one bought an Iberia ticket from ‘the company’ through either cash, debit card or credit card payment. Nowadays, Iberia is split into three different companies and one must first decide whether to fly Iberia, Iberiaexpress or Vueling. It’s all the same flight, only the revenues go into different pots. Once the ticket is booked and one proceeds to the online payment, a (to me unknown) third party provider pops up: SOFORT GmbH. Asked to enter my private bank user name and password to SOFORTs website I was a bit reluctant but did so eventually as I needed the ticket urgently and believed that Iberia knew what it was doing. Indeed, all went well and I was sent my e-ticket soon after.

Two days later I received an email from SOFORT GmbH telling me that the transaction for my ticket had failed and that I needed to follow-up on the payment if I did not want to risk losing my seat. Alerted I logged into my online bank account[2] and saw that the transaction was on hold. I could click on it but not do anything more. Eventually, I decided to follow the instructions of SOFORT and make a manual bank transfer. Done, I contacted SOFORT and they confirmed that all was good now. Another two days later I figured that I was deducted the full amount twice, both on the same day. Again, I contacted SOFORT, but immediately got a reply that they could not help me. Rather, I should contact the merchant/provider/PSP where I had placed the order. Fxxx! So what the heck is a PSP? After some more emails back and forth I figured that the PSP might be Loviiit. However, Loviiit, ‘DOCOMO Digital’s e-commerce and m-commerce payments enabler’, which ‘provides international and multi-currency payment processing services, including e-money and mobile payment wallets for sellers and buyers, fraud and risk prevention as well as consumer financing solutions’ is a company that does not even publish an email address or any other contact information on their website. All you can do is submit an inquiry, wait and hope.

While I’m still waiting to get my Euro 400 back, I’m thinking about my purchase and the parties involved. SOFORT as I learn from their website is ‘Germany’s leading direct payment system’. And my transfer went to Loviit with seat in Lichtenstein. Why do I need a German payment system to transfer my money to a Lichtenstein company that facilitates the purchase of my online ticket from a Spanish airline? Is that what the European Union stands for: united we steal (better and more efficient)? Once a proud European I start to disrespect this place where all sorts of mafia groups have gained so much power and status that we take them for granted. Are SOFORT and Loviiit even a partner company of the current Spanish government that has taught us how to transfer millions of tax money into the pockets of its party leaders without even fearing an election loss?

I wouldn’t be so angry if that was the first time such a thing happened to me but the reality is that I was involved in all sort of bank fraud over the past few months. There was this ATM withdrawal from Euronet over the amount of 600 EUR from a EUR-account in Switzerland that they charged me in CHF regardless of me denying to have the amount converted into CHF. It costs me 60 EUR in exchange loss due to the really bad exchange rate they applied. 10% of commission for an ATM withdrawal in Europe – who would call that ethic? I also got charged EUR 21 for an inward transaction to the above mentioned online account of BBVA regardless of European law providing that SEPA payments should be free of charge between member states[1]. Europe has become a virtual nightmare with companies stealing wherever they can and nobody being around to answer our inquiries. Meanwhile as a self-employed entrepreneur working in different European countries I spend more time doing paper work and filing tax declarations for a variety of member states than I can dedicate to my actual work from which I gain my income. In the majority of cases I have to deal with highly incompetent state officials that do nothing but count the minutes until their work time ends. Or maybe, they watch the values of their Panama accounts increasing.

To sum up, it appears that Europe has degenerated into a financial Mafia land. All our bureaucrats have achieved in recent years is the private sector copying their practices and stealing time and money from citizens without providing any services in return. Truly a lovely (banking) Union.


[1] When such transaction are free of charge for domestic transactions, what they are in the case of my account.

[2] An online bank account by BBVA without support whatsoever that does all but cause me headaches.


About blaubear

Born in 1973 in a small village in rural Switzerland and into a society largely dominated by cows (not only was the human population of one-hundred-and-forty outnumbered by them, but politics were driven by unreasonable subsidies for diary products) I was connected with nature from early age on. Observing nature on one hand and the deficiencies of a dysfunctional Swiss agricultural policy with farmers that had lost connection to the land that provided their income on the other, I soon started to question society and the meaning of life. Suffering also under a farcical public education I developed curiosity to discover on my own. That was how I soon learned that little of what I had been taught was true. Skepticism and interaction with people from for me new cultures fostered my interest for the world and eagerness to leave a life shaped by federalistic layman-ship. At the age of twenty-three I hit the road for the first time, an event that later translated into passion. Traveling between cultures has since become part of my life. At the age of thirty-three I finally realized my dream and did a degree in Environmental Engineering from which I graduated in 2009, only to leave Switzerland once more for my "real home" Spain. Unfortunately, the stay was a short one: a couple of months later I was offered a job in Southeast Asia, where I worked and also lived (with some interruptions, e.g. I live in Melbourne since late 2012) ever since. Having worked for a Japanese company earlier in my life, I soon felt captured again by Asian culture and thinking which makes a lovely contrast to my European heritage. My journey through different countries and cultures has taught me that regardless of how different our thinking and values are, no matter what approaches we take, we all can learn from each other. And if we are open enough to see the common instead of pointing out the differences, then we have a chance to live in harmony and peace: Life is all about integration, not exclusion! It's an old wisdom that "knowledge is power", as such I never get tired of being around new people, having interesting talks, and reading lots of good books. I hope that my blog can contribute to the conversation.
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