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Judge: Commerzbank must pay bonuses

Judge: Commerzbank must pay bonuses
Photo: DPA

Germany’s second-biggest bank, the Commerzbank, has been ordered to pay more than €50 million in bonuses to workers who had been promised the money by the Dresdner Bank before it was taken over by Commerzbank.

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The 104 members of staff had sued for the bonuses, which totalled €52 million, after Dresdner Kleinwort, the investment part of Dresdner Bank, said the economic situation had got so bad it could not pay.

Their individual claims ranged from €150,000 to €2 million.

Although a German court dismissed their claims for the full amount, a British court said on Wednesday they should be paid in full.

"I have come to the conclusion that the claimants are entitled to payment of bonuses provisionally awarded to them," said judge Robert Owen.

The bankers were promised a share of a bonus pot of €400 million, on the condition that Dresdner Kleinwort’s economic situation did not significantly deteriorate. When it lost €6.5 billion in 2008, the bankers were offered ten percent of the bonuses.

The year afterwards Commerzbank took over Dresdner, and during the takeover, found itself struggling so badly it took €18.2 billion in state support, effectively becoming partly state-owned.

Commerzbank spokesman said later, "We are disappointed with the court's decision and will seek leave to appeal.

"The bank believes that the decision to reduce discretionary bonuses following €6.5 billion of losses at Dresdner Kleinwort for 2008 was responsible and justified."

The Local/AFP/DAPD/hc

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