Deutsche Bank co-CEO acquitted of attempted fraud charges

FRANKFURT – Deutsche Bank co-CEO Juergen Fitschen has been acquitted of attempted fraud charges related to the bank’s long-running battle with the heirs of a now-deceased media mogul.

The regional court in Munich handed down the verdict Monday after a year-long trial. Also acquitted were Fitschen’s predecessors as CEO, Rolf Breuer and Josef Ackermann, as well as former board chairman Clemens Boersig and former top executive Tessen von Heydebreck.

Prosecutors said they had tried to deceive an appeals court in an attempt to shield Deutsche Bank from damages.

Kirch said Breuer’s statements in a 2002 television interview questioning his creditworthiness led to the bankruptcy of his media empire. Breuer said that “everything you can read and hear” is that the financial sector wasn’t prepared to loan more money to Kirch, a Deutsche Bank client.

Kirch’s indebted companies filed for bankruptcy protection several months later. Kirch sued for damages in a case that dragged out for years. He died in 2011.

Deutsche Bank paid Kirch’s heirs 925 million euros in 2014 to settle the matter.

Fitschen is due to leave his post on May 19. That would leave current co-CEO John Cryan as the sole boss at Germany’s biggest bank.