Former Deutsche Bank CEO settles fraud case

Former Deutsche Bank CEO Rolf Breuer has agreed to pay €350,000 to settle criminal charges of attempted fraud in connection with the implosion of the media empire of late magnate Leo Kirch.

Former Deutsche Bank CEO settles fraud case
Photo: DPA

Under the agreement, Breuer will avoid being formally convicted of a crime. Paying a monetary settlement to avoid prosecution is common in Germany when prosecutors worry their case may be difficult to prove. Approximately €250,000 of the settlement will go to the government, with €100,000 being allocated to non-profit groups.

Judge Anton Winkler said a settlement was “the most sensible solution,” given the complexities involved in the case.

The criminal case centres around a statement Breuer made during a Munich court appearance in 2003. He told the court that he didn’t have any inside information about Leo Kirch’s creditworthiness before a controversial 2002 television interview in which he suggested lenders wouldn’t offer the media mogul more cash. But prosecutors charged in 2009 that Breuer had seen information from the bank and was attempting to mislead the court.

Breuer’s testimony in court came as part of a complex series of lawsuits filed years ago by Kirch, a media magnate who built a vast empire before declaring bankruptcy in 2002. He died earlier this year.

Before his death, Kirch sued Breuer and Deutsche Bank for more than €3 billion, charging that negative statements made about Kirch’s credit-worthiness – especially by Breuer during the 2002 interview – had led to his downfall.

Civil cases are ongoing and authorities raided Deutsche Bank offices last month on suspicion that other executives have proffered false testimony.

The Local/DAPD/mdm

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Four injured as WWII bomb explodes near Munich train station

Four people were injured, one of them seriously, when a World War II bomb exploded at a building site near Munich's main train station on Wednesday, emergency services said.

Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich.
Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Privat

Construction workers had been drilling into the ground when the bomb exploded, a spokesman for the fire department said in a statement.

The blast was heard several kilometres away and scattered debris hundreds of metres, according to local media reports.

Images showed a plume of smoke rising directly next to the train tracks.

Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann told Bild that the whole area was being searched.

Deutsche Bahn suspended its services on the affected lines in the afternoon.

Although trains started up again from 3pm, the rail operator said there would still be delays and cancellations to long-distance and local travel in the Munich area until evening. 

According to the fire service, the explosion happened near a bridge that must be passed by all trains travelling to or from the station.

The exact cause of the explosion is unclear, police said. So far, there are no indications of a criminal act.

WWII bombs are common in Germany

Some 75 years after the war, Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance, often uncovered during construction work.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

However, most bombs are defused by experts before they explode.

Last year, seven World War II bombs were found on the future location of Tesla’s first European factory, just outside Berlin.

Sizeable bombs were also defused in Cologne and Dortmund last year.

In 2017, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in Frankfurt prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people — the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.