Sal. Oppenheim fraud

Another Thorn in Deutsche Bank's Side

Sal Oppenheim, one of many legal problems still facing Deutsche Bank.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Deutsche Bank, which has been struggling in the past few years, is caught up in multiople expensive legal battles resulting from the 2008 financial crisis.

  • Facts


    • Deutsche Bank bought Sal. Oppenheim in 2010, effectively saving the private bank from bankruptcy.
    • Four former executives at Sal. Oppenheim were found guilty last week of breach of trust.
    • Deutsche Bank has set aside €3.2 billion ($3.6 billion) for litigation costs.
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Sabine Rau is still hoping to get her family’s €30 million fortune back. Fortunately for her, a court ruling last week has made this much more likely.

Ms. Rau is one of hundreds that have sued the storied German private bank Sal. Oppenheim, which has been part of Deutsche Bank since 2010, for mismanaging funds in the heady days of the financial crisis.

While she said she recognized the risks of investing, she had asked the bank to invest her family’s funds conservatively, and had a promise to always get the principle returned at the very least. Instead, she had lost some €20 million by 2011 and has been fighting to get the money returned ever since.

“Business hazard and organized fraud are two very different things,” Ms. Rau, a professor at the Otto Beisheim School of Management near Koblenz, said in an interview with Handelsblatt Global Edition.

Four former executives of Sal. Oppenheim, founded in 1789 and once the bank of choice for Germany’s wealthy, were found guilty last Thursday of breach of trust for their role in a series of reckless investments that left it teetering on the brink of bankruptcy before Deutsche Bank came to the rescue.

The landmark decision followed one of the costliest and most complicated cases ever brought by German prosecutors, and marked the most high-profile ruling on financial mismanagement in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis.

The four executives were not found guilty of enriching themselves in the process, but two of them could still face jail time for their crimes.

The case is just one of the many legal troubles still outstanding for Deutsche Bank, which has struggled to turn the page ever since 2008 and now could be on the hook for any legal settlements stemming from the Sal. Oppenheim case.

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