Tuesday, April 28, 2015

German Bank: Indictment against Breuer, Ackermann, Fitschen – SPIEGEL ONLINE

There they sit so the gentlemen of money that three German Bank Chief of the past 18 years. At the dock in the room B273 of the Higher Regional Court of Munich. At the front Rolf Breuer, the hair is now known that caused the whole mess 13 years ago. Just behind him, stony-faced Josef Ackermann, the most powerful bankers of the noughties. In the third row is finally Jürgen Fitschen, acting co-head of Deutsche Bank, for here also his job is at stake.

There is a small room in green and white, a wooden cross on the wall, neon lights on the ceiling. The view from the window goes on a few conifers and concrete – this will be for the next few months, the prospect of the three bankers and two other defendants, once a week from half past nine. It is not the ambiance, the German bankers are used to.

You can see the accused to her discomfort. You sit here because they should have lied. The defendants “attempted fraud collaborative process” accused. An accusation which contradict the defenders on the first day of the trial unusually heavy.

But they have to wait, because at first has senior public prosecutor Christiane Serini the word. Nearly five hours does the reading of their indictment.

The story revolves mainly around two issues:

  • The failure of the media group of Leo Kirch in 2002. According to the indictment should Breuer have time publicly questioned Kirch’s creditworthiness, an advisory mandate for smashing to obtain the media group. Sticking point is a television interview Breuer in early February 2002, when he commented on Kirch’s financial situation. As a prosecutor Serini reads the text of the interview, Breuer sitting with his head bowed. The corners of his mouth as always deeply pulled down. He knows the sentences by heart. These are the records that changed his life.
  • But this time the prosecution has more in sight: It’s about the statements of the German Bank Manager in civil proceedings between Kirch and Deutsche Bank in 2011. According to the indictment, the five managers are denied and lied have. Fitschen is doing a special role: He had not kept in his statement to the allegedly false understandings of the bankers, but made “inconclusive” information. In other words, he wanted to be durchlavieren without lying. But since he did according to the indictment of the false representations of the other managers and they have not corrected, it also applies to the charge of attempted fraud.

wheeling and dealing in the economy at that time were commonplace

The indictment reads in part as a drama about the so-called Germany AG – that network of companies, banks and politics, which controlled the German economy until the beginning of the 21st century. The German bank was then a center of Germany AG. Their bosses as Breuer or the top investment banker Ackermann pulled the strings. As a further protagonists as occurred illustrious personalities such as the former Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Middelhoff, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and the publisher Friede Springer-widow.

That wheeling and dealing in the German economy at that time were commonplace, not even the defendants would probably deny. But it was really collusive thing to harm the church to get in the episode an advisory mandate from him? This is the question that has been at the heart of civil procedure, also the Trial Chamber will have to deal with in the coming months.

How important this is already indicated at the end of the first Verhandlungstags, as the lawyers of the accused must give their opening statements. Fitschens defender Hanns W. figs engages the prosecution sharply – and refers to documents that were found during the search of a law firm and to relieve the defendant. The prosecution had taken them until very late in the files. Then ensues a fierce war of words with prosecutor Serini.

“There was no plot to process fraud”

If the said documents are handwritten notes taken by German bank lawyer, giving rise according figs, that the former German bank executives have sought no advice mandate of the struggling church group in 2002. In a statement from February 2015 senior public prosecutor Serini have even confirmed this himself. The indictment was thus “deprived of the soil”. Moreover, his client would not be where opinion only on questions of the Court, the Prosecutor’s Office.

The lawyers of the remaining defendants appear to be relying primarily on refuting the judgment of the civil law process, the prosecutors have taken unchecked as Ackermann’s legal representative Eberhard Kempf criticized. “There was no conspiracy to fraud process,” says Kempf. At the next hearing Ackermann wanted to comment on it yourself.

Breuer’s attorney Norbert harshly criticizes the prosecution also: The theory behind it is “undecided and will turn out to be wrong.” This starts already at the question interview his client and in the subsequent claims for damages Kirch. There had been nothing, “what is the interview could damage,” says Sharp. Is church since long been bankrupt.


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