Ex-Deutsche Bank chief pays 3.2 mn euros over media mogul lawsuit


Frankfurt (AFP)

Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest lender, said Thursday that its former chief executive Rolf Breuer agreed to pay it 3.2 million euros ($3.6 million) after comments he made in 2002 triggered a long and bitter legal battle.

In an invitation to its annual shareholder meeting on May 19, Deutsche Bank said that the sum -- to be paid personally by Breuer -- would be added to a total 90 million euros being paid out to the bank from Breuer's liability insurance contracts.

Deutsche Bank is seeking shareholder approval for the settlement at the May 19 AGM.

In a long and bitter legal battle dating back to 2002, media magnate Leo Kirch, who died in 2011 at the age of 84, had been suing Deutsche Bank for more than 3.0 billion euros.

Kirch claimed that Breuer was responsible for his downfall after he openly questioned his creditworthiness in a television interview.

In what subsequently turned out to be one of the most expensive lawsuits for Deutsche Bank, the lender agreed to pay Kirch's heirs 925 million euros in a settlement reached in 2014.

Breuer's career at Deutsche Bank spanned 40 years, starting as a trader and rising up to become its CEO from 1997 until 2002 and then its supervisory board chief from 2002 until 2006.

The group is currently entangled in a web of legal woes, facing as many as 6,000 different litigation cases, the provisions for which helped push it to a record loss of 6.8 billion euros last year.

It was fined last May a record $2.5 billion for its involvement in rigging interest rates, and has faced probes by Swiss authorities for suspected price fixing on the precious metals market.

US investigators have also looked into its Moscow branch on suspicion of possible involvement in money-laundering.