July 28, 2009 / 2:20 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 2-Deutsche Bank says spying not authorised by boards

* Deutsche Bank says spying not authorised by managers

* Deutsche Bank regrets spying matter, takes measures


FRANKFURT, July 28 (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank AG said on Tuesday neither its management nor supervisory board had authorised investigative methods that included spying in an affair that threatens the bank with a criminal probe.

Deutsche Bank said last week that detectives it hired had spied on four people it deemed a threat. The case strikes a raw nerve in Germany, which is still trying to come to terms with a past where spying on citizens was common in the Communist East.

“Questionable methods used were not authorised by members of the supervisory board or the management board,” the supervisory board said in a statement on Tuesday.

Deutsche Bank sought to distance its chief executive from the tactics last week but Tuesday’s statement explicitly stated for the first time that supervisory board chairman Clemens Boersig did not authorise the surveillance.

Boersig’s role in the affair had come into focus after the bank admitted that one of the spying incidents followed on from a conversation he had with the head of investor relations about finding out more about a shareholder.

Boersig had sought to find out why shareholder Michael Bohndorf was bombarding the company with legal claims.

Deutsche Bank appears to have been less systematic with its inquiries than the monitoring of workers that forced the chief executive of rail group Deutsche Bahn to quit earlier this year.

The bank is investigating four incidents that could “raise legal issues such as data protection or privacy concerns”.

Its four cases of surveillance concern a nuisance shareholder, an investigative journalist, a supervisory board member suspected of leaking information and a private citizen who sent threatening letters to Deutsche Bank board members.

Deutsche Bank on Tuesday discussed the findings of its own investigation into the matter as well as deciding on a contract extension for Chief Executive Josef Ackermann. It posted a 70 percent rise in net profit earlier in the day.

The affair is also being investigated by Frankfurt prosecutors, German regulator BaFin and the data protection authorities of the State of Hesse and could result in a criminal probe of the bank.

“We regret what took place,” the bank said, adding that internal measures had been taken to prevent a repeat.

Deutsche Bank dismissed its head of corporate security for Germany and the global head of investor relations, who it said were involved in the incidents.

The bank will wait for the ongoing investigations to be completed before taking “further corrective action”. (Reporting by Edward Taylor; editing by Simon Jessop and Lin Noueihed)

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