Deustche Bank hit by new raids

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Germany's biggest bank Deustche Bank said Thursday that prosecutors have raided the lender for the second time in just over a week, this time over allegations of false statements in a long-running compensation battle.

The raid on the bank's headquarters in Frankfurt were aimed at securing documents relating to court action in the collapse of the Munich-based Kirch media group.

Deutsche was ordered on Friday to pay compensation to the heirs of the Kirch estate after the late German media mogul, Leo Kirch claimed comments made by a former Deutsche head Rolf Breuer had helped pave the way for the implosion of his group in 2002.

In addition to Breuer, the focus of the Munich prosecutors' investigation is on the bank's former chief executive Josef Ackermann, ex-board chairman Clemens Boersig as well as former chief personal officer Tessen von Heydebreck.

The prosecutors want to establish whether the ex-managers made false statements during Kirch court action.

While the court in Munich left open the amount of compensation to be paid, it had previously estimated the cost of damages at between 120 million euros (160 million dollars) and 1.5 billion euros, should the case go against Deutsche.

Deutsche confirmed Thursday that the raids had taken place on Wednesday but rejected claims that the former executives had made false statements.

The latest set of raids caps a difficult period for the bank, which has threaten to damage Deutsche's reputation.

Also on Wednesday, an Italian judge convicted Deutsche together with a group of international banks of fraud in investments involving the city of Milan.

Prosecutors also raided Deutsche's Frankfurt's headquarters on December 12 in connection with a lengthy tax evasion probe linked to CO2 trading.

Deustche's co-chief executive Juergen Fitschen and chief financial officer Stefan Krause are being investigated by prosecutors as part of the tax probe linked to CO2 certificate trading.

Adding to the present sense of drama surrounding Deutsche, Fitschen apologised on Tuesday for making a phone call to a senior politician to protest the police raid on Deutsche's headquarters.

Fitschen had called the premier of Hesse state, Volker Bouffier, to complain about the searches on December 12 by 500 police and tax officers on the bank's Frankfurt twin towers.

The call raised concerns that Fitschen had sought to influence the investigation.

Fitschen and Krause signed questionable value-added tax declarations dating back to 2009.

But the Frankfurt-based lender insisted that it had voluntarily corrected the declarations some time ago.

Fitschen and Deutsche's former investment banking chief Anshu Jain took over from Ackermann as the bank's joint chief executives in June.

A week ago, Deutsche warned that higher restructuring costs would badly hit group profits in the final quarter of 2012.

In the meantime, the bank is part of a global investigation into moves by financial houses to tamper with the international benchmark interest rate (Libor). - Sapa-dpa


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