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Deutsche Bank Asked to Join Criminal Case Against Co-Chief Executive Fitschen

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Medial Mogul Leo Kirch, now deceased, is at the center of the Deutsche Bank's troubles.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Although Deutsche Bank settled with the heirs of media mogul Leo Kirch, some executives are still fighting conspiracy charges tied to the bankruptcy, which they deny.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Charges have been filed against co-CEO Jürgen Fitschen and others alleging fraud in the Kirch dispute.
    • Deutsche Bank could pay up to €1 million if it doesn’t yield to a prosecutor’s request to sue Mr. Fitschen.
    • The fine would only be levied if Mr. Fitschen or others were found guilty of committing fraud.
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    Audio

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A longstanding legal dispute with the Kirch heirs could become even more expensive for Deutsche Bank. The scandal has already cost the bank about €1 billion ($1.33 billion) in settlement payments, legal fees, an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting and a double audit. Now another million could be added to the list.

The public prosecutor’s office in Munich wants the lender to participate in criminal proceedings as a secondary party against current co-chief executive Jürgen Fitschen and former bank executives, sources in financial circles said on Monday. The prosecutor’s office, the Munich regional court and Deutsche Bank were unwilling to comment.

Media entrepreneur Leo Kirch had sued the bank and former chief executive Rolf-E. Breuer for damages in 2002, after Mr. Breuer had questioned Mr. Kirch’s creditworthiness in an interview. Although both sides signed a settlement agreement at the beginning of the year, prosecutors recently filed a complaint for attempted fraud with the Munich regional court.

Mr. Fitschen, Mr. Breuer and former chief executive Josef Ackermann, former supervisory board chairman Clemens Börsig and former chief administrative officer Tessen von Heydebreck were allegedly involved in a conspiracy to ward off Kirch’s claims. The defendants deny the allegations. It remains unclear whether the court will allow the indictment against all the executives.

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