* Deutsche Bank says has made provisions for Kirch dispute
* Says no end in sight, and no talks over settlement
* Shareholders heckle managers over legal problems
(Adds more CEO comments, background)
By Edward Taylor
FRANKFURT, April 11 Deutsche Bank
said there was no end in sight to its legal dispute with the
representatives of deceased media mogul Leo Kirch, as it faced
jeers from shareholders who fear the bank is being distracted by
a string of court cases and scandals.
Co-Chief Executive Juergen Fitschen told an extraordinary
shareholder meeting - called after Kirch's supporters contested
the bank's 2012 annual general meeting (AGM) - that Germany's
flagship lender had set aside money to cover the cost of one of
the country's longest running and most bitter corporate battles.
But he warned: "An end of the proceedings is not in sight."
Deutsche Bank is embroiled in a string of disputes,
including a carbon trading scandal and allegations of
mis-selling complex financial products, and is one of a dozen
banks being probed for allegedly rigging benchmark interest
Last month, the bank said it had increased litigation
provisions for regulatory and legal disputes to 2.4 billion
euros ($3.1 billion) and that it had set aside a further 1.5
billion for contingent liabilities.
Shareholders at the meeting on Thursday expressed dismay the
decade-long battle with Kirch and his representatives was
dragging on, as well as concern that managers were being
distracted from running Germany's biggest bank.
"Enough is enough. Shareholder rights are being abused. A
private vendetta is being carried out at the expense of all
shareholders," said Klaus Nieding, a lawyer representing DSW,
Germany's largest association for private investors.
"Stop holding us all to ransom and resolve your dispute in
court, not here," Nieding said to general applause.
Kirch had claimed ex-Deutsche Bank Chief Executive and later
Chairman Rolf Breuer 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 ($2.6
billion) in damages.
In November, Munich judge Guido Kotschy said Kirch had
suffered damages of between 120 million euros and 1.5 billion. A
final amount in damages has yet to be determined.
Deutsche Bank said it maintained that the claims made by
Kirch have no merit and Fitschen said there were currently no
negotiations to reach a settlement.
As part of the dispute, Kirch's supporters contested the
bank's AGM last year, saying speaking time for shareholders was
restricted, the notary did not take comprehensive minutes, and
the meeting was chaired by the wrong person.
A Frankfurt court in December ruled Kirch's representatives
should have been given more time to speak at the AGM, forcing
Deutsche Bank to repeat the meeting.
Ingo Speich, a fund manager at Union investment, said the
fact shareholders had to attend an extra meeting was a sign
Deutsche Bank was getting overwhelmed with legal problems.
"Please ensure that Deutsche Bank can return to its
operating business," Speich said to Paul Achleitner, the bank's
new chairman. "Take a look at the bank's corporate governance,
past events show there is room for improvement."
For the first time ever, Deutsche Bank erected a waist-high
grey perimeter fence to prevent shareholders getting too close
to members of the management and supervisory board, including
co-chief executives Anshu Jain and Fitschen.
Fitschen attempted to quell discontent at the meeting in the
outskirts of Frankfurt, but was interrupted by angry investors.
"An extraordinary general meeting is something new to all of
us at Deutsche Bank. Certainly we do not want to make it a
habit, but circumstances forced us to take this step," Fitschen
said, amid heckling from the audience.
"Why doesn't the other guy say anything," a bespectacled
shareholder clad in a black blazer interrupted, pointing at
Anshu Jain, who spent hours silently listening to shareholder
Fitschen declined to put a figure on the amount set aside to
cover the Kirch dispute, but said the bank had spent a low
double-digit million euros in legal fees in a case which has
been fought in courtrooms across Germany and the United States.
($1 = 0.7642 euros)
(Editing by Mark Potter)