FRANKFURT Jan 17 German prosecutors are
investigating Michael Cohrs, a former top investment banker at
Deutsche Bank and current Bank of England
non-executive director, over testimony he gave before a judge in
court over the collapse of the Kirch media empire.
Cohrs is suspected of having delivered misleading testimony
in a court process related to Deutsche Bank's legal battle with
the late media mogul Leo Kirch, a spokesman for the Munich
prosecutor said on Friday, declining to give further details.
Naming Cohrs, a U.S. national, as an additional target in a
criminal investigation marks a widening of a decade-old case
that has already led to Deutsche Bank's current co-Chief
Executive Juergen Fitschen also being named as a suspect in late
Cohrs once rivalled the bank's other co-CEO, Anshu Jain, as
head of Deutsche's powerful investment bank before quitting the
bank in 2010.
Reuters was not immediately able to contact Cohrs for
comment, either via Deutsche Bank, the Bank of England, or
another firm in which he is involved, private equity group EQT.
There was also no response on a mobile phone number he is known
to have used.
Deutsche Bank declined to comment. In the past it has denied
that former members of its board gave false evidence in court.
The Bank of England did not immediately respond to requests for
Kirch had claimed Rolf Breuer, ex-Deutsche Bank chief
executive and later chairman, triggered his media group's
downfall by questioning its creditworthiness in a 2002
television interview. He sought for years to recoup about 2
billion euros ($2.7 billion) in damages. The bank and its
officers denied that.
The legal battle that ensued has involved prosecutors
searching Deutsche Bank offices and has dragged on through the
courts for a decade. In 2012, a Munich judge said Kirch had
suffered damages of between 120 million and 1.5 billion euros.
But a final settlement amount has yet to be determined.
Prosecutors are also investigating whether Breuer, current
co-CEO Fitschen and other board members may have also offered
Cohrs left Deutsche Bank in 2010, where he had held the
position of head of global banking. He serves as a non-executive
director on the Court of Directors at the Bank of England,
according to the BOE's website, as well as industrial advisor
EQT declined to comment.