It was only one sentence, uttered in a TV interview more than 14 years ago by a former Deutsche Bank CEO, but it set the ball rolling for what would become one of the most bitter and most protracted legal disputes in German corporate history. In February 2002, Rolf Breuer, a former top executive at Germany's largest lender, called the creditworthiness of Leo Kirch's media empire into question. Months thereafter, the group filed for bankruptcy. What followed were years of accusations, lawsuits and costly settlements between Deutsche and Kirch's heirs, who continued to pursue billions of euros in compensation after the media mogul's death in July 2011. On Monday, the final chapter in this ongoing saga finally came to a close after a judge in Munich ruled that allegations of attempted fraud against five current and former Deutsche Bank CEOs could not be substantiated. The decision, which can still be appealed, put to rest a nearly year-long case that had examined whether … [Read more...] about Fitschen’s final triumph
Corporate bankruptcy lawyer
It has been described as no less than the most spectacular trial in the history of German banking. When Deutsche Bank co-CEO Jürgen Fitschen faces fraud allegations in a Munich court starting April 28, much will be at stake. For one, Fitschen's reputation within private banking circles could suffer. As co-head of Germany's biggest bank, he brings home an annual salary of 6.7 million euros ($7.3 million). He also enjoys an illustrious position as the president of the Association of German Banks. But even Fitschen's freedom is at risk. If found guilty, the 66-year-old could face up to 10 years in prison. The allegations against one of Germany's most prominent bankers involve testimony he gave in 2011 in a court case linked to the collapse of media mogul Leo Kirch's TV empire. But the trial's impact is not only limited to Fitschen. On the weight of the trial, Germany's influential weekly, "Die Zeit," said the trial raised questions that went deeper than Fitschen's own … [Read more...] about Trial of Deutsche Bank co-CEO Fitschen starts
Dear Volkswagen Group, I know you're having a tough time right now. At the moment, you're the bad guys, the target of concentrated media attention of the least desirable kind: You're the scandal of the day. Journalists are working overtime on articles, op-eds and analyses, covering the full gamut of speculation about what the implications of your diesel emissions scam might prove to be. And there's plenty to speculate about. Even the company's possible bankruptcy has been mooted! Two things could lead to your demise: Car buyers could boycott your brand, or class-action lawsuits in the USA could wipe out your balance sheet. As a side effect, the cherished reputational capital of "Made in Germany," built up over generations, could be dragged into the abyss along with VW's brand. I can well understand the doom-and-despair mood in Wolfsburg at the moment. But: Chin up, VW! You won't go over a cliff. Your salvation has a name: China. First, because the Chinese market - your most … [Read more...] about Opinion: Don’t panic, Volkswagen!