Deutsche Bank was found partially liable over the collapse of Leo Kirch’s media group and must pay damages, which will be determined later, a German court said.
Bloomberg reports that the Munich Higher Regional Court ruled the lender and its former Chief Executive Officer Rolf Breuer are liable for statements in 2002 before the Kirch group filed for bankruptcy. The late media magnate’s heirs seek as much as $2.6bn.
The case is one of several lawsuits continuing after Leo Kirch’s July 2011 death that allege the bank secretly plotted to bring about the end of his media empire. Part of the conspiracy, they argue, was a 2002 interview on Bloomberg Television in which Breuer said 'everything that you can read and hear' is that 'the financial sector isn’t prepared to provide further' loans or equity to Kirch.
After almost two years of hearings, the court next will hear more testimony from expert witnesses on how much to award in damages, Presiding Judge Guido Kotschy said.
The trial spawned its own criminal probe over Breuer’s testimony last year. Former Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann, former Chairman Clemens Boersig and former board member Tessen von Heydebreck are also under investigation over their testimony in the case. Deutsche Bank has denied wrongdoing by any of its executives.
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