legal marathon

Deutsche Collusion Trial Likely To End in Acquittal

Der ehemalige Vorstandsvorsitzende der Deutschen Bank, Rolf Breuer (vorne, r), der ehemalige Vorstandsvorsitzende der Deutschen Bank, Josef Ackermann (M, sitzend), der Co-Vorsitzende des Vorstands der Deutschen Bank, Jürgen Fitschen (hinten, 2.v.r.) und ihre Anwälte aufgenommen am 19.04.2016 in München (Bayern) im Verhandlungssaal im Landgericht. Der Prozess gegen vier ehemalige Manager und den aktuellen Co-Chef der Deutschen Bank wegen versuchten Betrugs im Kirch-Prozess wurde fortgesetzt. Foto: Tobias Hase/dpa +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++
Justice in the dock.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The likely acquittal of five current and former Deutsche Bank executives in their year-long trial on collusion charges could give the beleaguered bank a much-needed boost.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • A verdict in the trial of Deutsche Bank co-CEO Jürgen Fitschen and four other defendants is expected Monday.
    • The defense attorneys delivered their closing arguments on Tuesday, heaping criticism on the prosecution.
    • Judge Peter Noll has repeatedly indicated that he is leaning towards an acquittal as the prosecution had failed to prove the allegations.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Before court proceedings got underway on Tuesday, Rolf-Ernst Breuer, the former chief executive of Deutsche Bank, leaned against the judge’s bench as he has done so often before. But there was a difference this time: He was smiling.

The five current and former Deutsche Bank executives on trial in Munich may have to wait a few more days for the verdict, but it’s looking increasingly likely that they will be acquitted. On Tuesday, the defendants were visibly relieved.

The trial of Mr. Breuer together with current co-chief executive Jürgen Fitschen, former chief executive Josef Ackermann, ex-supervisory board chairman Clemens Börsig and ex-management board member Tessen von Heydebreck has been going on for almost a year in courtroom B273 of the Munich regional court.

They were accused of deceiving a court examining Deutsche Bank’s role in the 2002 bankruptcy of former client Kirch Media in order to avoid compensation claims. But Judge Peter Noll, who will issue the final verdict next week, has been unusually direct in the run-up to his decision. Last week he made clear he believed the prosecutors so far failed to prove the allegations against the men.

On Tuesday, in what was likely one of the final days in court, lawyers for the defense were clearly in good spirits as they delived their closing arguments. They expect prosecutors to lose.

“They’re now facing a case in tatters, but they don’t want to acknowledge the fiasco,” said Hanns Feigen, the defense attorney for Mr. Fitschen.

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