The new head of BayernLB, Germany’s second-largest state-owned bank, is cleaning house. Johannes-Jörg Riegler, who was named chief executive in April, is ending a costly foray into Hungary, cutting costs and seeking closure on a legal case involving a former client, Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone.
On Thursday, when asked about negotiations with the British business magnate, who had been accused of bribing bank officials to secure a lucrative German sporting contract, Mr. Riegler said the bank would press for a legal resolution.
“It’s still unclear whether we will sue or (whether) there will be a settlement,” Mr. Riegler said.
Mr. Ecclestone reached a settlement with prosecutors in a Munich court at the beginning of this month, agreeing to pay €75 million ($100 million) to end the case without admitting guilt. Mr. Ecclestone had offered BayernLB €25 million to drop its claims.
But Mr. Riegler said he wants more.
“The package wasn’t right,” the 50-year-old chief executive has recently said. The bank believes it was cheated during the sale of its Formula One shares in 2006. Mr. Riegler is also combative on other issues. The bank’s attorneys are pursing litigation at the European Court of Justice and the Austrian Constitutional Court, said Mr. Riegler, who was the former chief risk officer at another state-owned German bank, NordLB.