When Bankers Bite Back

Der ehemalige Vorstandsvorsitzende der Deutschen Bank, Josef Ackermann, kommt am 18.05.2015 in München (Bayern) in den Verhandlungssaal im Landgericht. Vier ehemalige Manager und der aktuelle Co-Chef der Deutschen Bank Fitschen müssen sich wegen versuchten Betrugs im Kirch-Prozess verantworten. Foto: Sven Hoppe/dpa +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++
An honest Joe?
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    If former and current Deutsche Bank executives are found guilty of misleading a court, the reputation and businesses of Germany’s largest bank could suffer.

  • Facts


    • Alongside Joe Ackermann, current Deutsche co-chairman Jürgen Fitschen, ex-boss Rolf E. Breuer, ex-supervisory chairman Clemens Börsig and former board member Tessen von Heydebreck are on trial.
    • Deutsche Bank and Kirch Group settled a long-running damages case in 2014, agreeing to pay €925 million, or $1 billion, to the heirs of Leo Kirch.
    • Mr. Kirch, and later his heirs, alleged Mr. Breuer intentionally raised doubts about Kirch Media’s financial position to precipitate the media company’s collapse, and then profit from investment banking fees in its ensuing breakup.
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The agenda for the eighth day of a trial against current and former Deutsche Bank executives appeared unspectacular at first, but then the ex-chief executive of Germany’s largest bank decided to speak.

The testimony of Josef Ackermann, Deutsche Bank’s CEO between 2002 and 2012, turned into a verbal broadside against Guido Kotschy, the judge presiding over Deutsche Bank’s €925 million, or $1 billion, civil settlement last year with the heirs of Germany’s once-powerful Kirch media group.

Mr. Ackermann and four other managers, including current Deutsche Bank co-CEO Jürgen Fitschen, are accused of colluding to mislead a previous court about the events leading to the 2002 bankruptcy of Kirch Media. Founder Leo Kirch accused and sued the bank for having a hand in his company’s collapse. The bankers and Deutsche Bank have repeatedly denied the charges.

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