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UPDATE 2-Deutsche Bank ruling on Kirch adds to legal woes
December 14, 2012 / 2:50 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 2-Deutsche Bank ruling on Kirch adds to legal woes

* Damages to be determined by independent expert-judge

* Judge previously eyed damages of 120 mln to 1.5 bln eur

* Deutsche Bank says will study verdict

* Ruling comes after a week of legal problems for bank

FRANKFURT, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank was ordered by a judge to pay damages to the representatives of deceased media mogul Leo Kirch, the latest blow to Germany’s flagship lender which is reeling from a string of legal problems.

Kirch had claimed ex-Deutsche 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 in damages.

On Friday, Munich judge Guido Kotschy said the level of damages would be determined by an outside expert.

The ruling comes in a week when Deutsche saw five employees arrested following a high-profile raid on its headquarters by tax inspectors, and after the bank told investors to expect significant charges in fourth-quarter results.

In November, judge Kotschy said Kirch had suffered damages of between 120 million euros ($157 million) and 1.5 billion, an estimate he repeated on Friday.

Deutsche Bank said it will study the ruling and maintains that the claims made by Kirch had no merit. Kirch’s representatives have continued his battle after he died aged 84 last year.

The ruling ends Deutsche Bank’s decade-long efforts to avoid paying damages to Kirch and comes at a time when it is trying to meet new capital demands.

Mediobanca analyst Chris Wheeler said, “This ruling and other potential legal hits raise questions about the already weak capital position and even the dividend in 2012.”

Deutsche Bank shares closed down 2 percent to 32.62 euros, lagging the blue-chip DAX index which closed 0.2 percent lower.

In its third quarter report, Deutsche Bank said that for significant and regulatory matters, the group had made an estimate that future losses could be up to 2.5 billion euros in excess of provisions.

The bank also said at that time it had received subpoenas and requests for information from various regulators and governmental agencies in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific in connection with setting the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Deutsche Bank is cooperating with these investigations

Rival Swiss bank UBS is expected to pay about $1 billion to settle charges of rigging the Libor interest rate benchmark, well above the $450 million fine paid by Barclays in June.

Deutsche this week dismissed claims made by a former employee alleging it had failed to recognise billions of euros in unrealised losses during the financial crisis.

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