Bank of America probe after hard-working intern dies

LONDON (AFP) - Bank of America Merill Lynch launched a review of working conditions on Friday following the death of a German intern who had reportedly worked for long hours at its London offices.

Student Moritz Erhardt, 21, was six weeks into a seven-week placement when his body was found in the shower at his temporary lodgings in the British capital last week.

His death sparked a debate over long hours and tough working conditions in the City of London, Europe's largest financial centre.

"We are deeply shocked and saddened by the news of Moritz Erhardt's death.

Moritz Erhardt was popular amongst his peers and was a highly diligent intern at our company with a bright future," a Bank of America Merrill Lynch spokesman said in a statement.

The investment bank said its priority was to support his family, its interns and employees grieving over his death "at this extremely difficult time".

"We have also convened a formal senior working group to consider the facts as they become known, to review all aspects of this tragedy, to listen to employees at all levels and to help us learn from them," the spokesman said.

The official cause of death for Erhardt, who is believed to have suffered from epilepsy, has not been determined. A coroner is expected to release details in around a month.

But British newspapers said he had been working until 6am every day for three days in a row.

European Union employment and social affairs commissioner Laszlo Andor said in a tweet that the "tragic death of M. Erhardt is a reminder of what internships should not be about".

"Exploitation of youth is unacceptable," Mr Andor said.

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