FRANKFURT Dec 10 Deutsche Bank's
former CEO Josef Ackermann has asked Germany's highest court to
keep a trove of documents out of a long-running suit brought by
heirs of the collapsed Kirch media empire.
Ackermann has asked the court to block the group
representing the heirs, which is seeking up to 1.5 billion euros
($2.1 billion) in damages from Deutsche Bank, from using
documents seized by Munich prosecutors during raids on the bank
a year ago.
If left unhindered, lawyers representing Kirch may be free
to trawl through some 8 million documents which they believe
could bolster their decade-long pursuit of damages from Deutsche
Ackermann's request asserts that the blanket nature and
scale of the raids infringed his right to privacy and a fair
trial, a court spokesman said. "The urgent matter will be
examined as quickly as possible," he said.
The formal request for a rapid decision from the
Constitutional Court often results in a decision within days.
The Munich prosecutor handed over the data on Friday to
lawyers representing the Kirch heirs.
Prosecutors searched Deutsche Bank twice in December 2012,
once as part of a probe into possible tax evasion and once as
part of the Kirch case.
Current co-CEO Juergen Fitschen, Ackermann and their
predecessor Rolf Breuer are the target of a separate
investigation into whether they misled prosecutors with false
evidence in the Kirch case. They have denied any wrongdoing.
The late Leo Kirch claimed that in 2002 then Deutsche chief
executive Rolf Breuer triggered his media group's downfall by
questioning its creditworthiness in a television interview.
Last year, a Munich judge said Kirch had suffered damages of
between 120 million and 1.5 billion euros. A final amount in
damages has yet to be determined.
Deutsche Bank has launched a highly touted cultural
transformation plan led by Fitschen and co-CEO Anshu Jain as it
works through a long list of scandals, investigations and fines
that came in the wake of the financial crisis.
A Deutsche Bank spokesman declined to comment. Ackermann's
lawyer was not immediately available to comment.
($1 = 0.7289 euros)
(Reporting by Thomas Atkins, Ilona Wissenbach, Philipp
Halstrick and Alexander Huebner; Editing by Mark Potter)