Former Deutsche Bank Bosses Cleared of Perjury in Mega Trial

The Deutsche Bank headquarters is seen behind a lamp ahead of the annual press conference in Frankfurt, Germany, on Feb. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Germany (AFP) — Germany’s top court on Thursday confirmed the acquittal of several former Deutsche Bank chief executives who had been accused of perjury in the Kirch trial, one of Germany’s most spectacular corporate legal sagas.

The Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) rejected prosecutors’ request to overturn a Munich court’s decision in favour of three former Deutsche bosses — Rolf Breuer, Josef Ackermann and Juergen Fitschen — who held office between 1997 and 2016.

The bankers faced allegations of false testimony in the Kirch trial, which followed the former media magnate’s company going bust in 2002.

Leo Kirch blamed Deutsche for the collapse of his empire, after Breuer expressed doubts about Kirch Media’s solvency in a 2002 interview with Bloomberg television.

The bank disentangled itself from the affair by paying almost one billion euros in 2014 to Kirch’s heirs after more than 10 years of civil proceedings.

Kirch himself had died in 2011.

But Munich prosecutors continued pursuing the former chiefs, alleging they colluded to deceive the court and prevent the Kirch family receiving damages.

Judges at the BGH have now found that there was no legal error in the 2016 acquittal, making the decision final.

Deutsche is still suffering from multiple legal cases in Europe and the U.S. that have helped undermine its business performance.

Germany’s largest lender launched its biggest-ever restructuring plan in July, aiming to slash 18,000 jobs and making deep cuts to its former flagship investment banking division.

On Wednesday, the group announced a net loss of $959.5 billion, putting Deutsche on track to lose more than four billion euros over the full year.

© Agence France-Presse

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