Deutsche Bank's co-chief executive Juergen Fitschen has been acquitted of charges of misleading a court in connection with the 2002 Kirch media empire collapse, closing a painful chapter after 14 years of legal wrangling. Sonia Legg reports
Relief for Deutsche Bank's co-chief executive. Juergen Fitschen has been acquitted of charges of misleading a court in connection with the collapse of the Kirch media empire. (SOUNDBITE) (German) COURT SPOKESWOMAN, ANDREA TITZ, SAYING: "Many aspects on which the charges were based were unconfirmed in particular the basic premiss that the interview carried out in 2001 was intended to ruin the Kirch group and thus acquire an advisory mandate." The ruling closes a chapter in one of Germany's most acrimonious corporate disputes. Media mogul Leo Kirch, who died in 2011, had blamed former Deutsche Bank chairman Rolf Breuer for triggering his group's downfall by questioning its creditworthiness in the tv interview. Deutsche Bank spent $1 billion settling a civil suit in February 2014. Munich prosecutors then accused senior managers, including Fitschen, Breuer and Josef Ackermann - another former CEO - of misleading an appeals court to avoid paying Kirch damages. They'd all denied the charges. (SOUNDBITE) (German) DEUTSCHE BANK CO-CHIEF EXECUTIVE, JUERGEN FITSCHEN, SAYING: "As you can imagine I am pleased the trial is over. The verdict was what I expected. I have repeatedly said I was telling the truth. I always trusted the court would confirm my statements, which the judges comprehensively did today." The case has been an unwelcome distraction for Germany's flagship bank. It's had a string of other legal issues to deal with. And has paid billions of euros in fines, settlements and legal costs. All contributed to a record loss in 2015.