July 27, 2009 / 2:56 PM / 10 years ago

PREVIEW-Deutsche Bank chairman faces spying affair questions

* What: Deutsche Bank supervisory board meeting

* When: Tuesday, July 28

* Expected: Board to discuss report on spying affair

FRANKFURT, July 27 (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank AG’s (DBKGn.DE) supervisory board will attempt to shed light on the role Chairman Clemens Boersig and other executives played in a spying affair at a meeting on Tuesday, sources close to the bank said.

The 20-member supervisory board, which is akin to a board of directors, will review a preliminary lawyers report about cowboy investigation methods used by Deutsche Bank to spy on outsiders and one of its own staff members that “raise legal issues such as data protection or privacy concerns.”

At the meeting, which takes place on the same day Deutsche is expected to report second-quarter earnings, the board is also set to rubber-stamp the contract extension for Chief Executive Josef Ackermann until 2013.

Deutsche Bank last week blamed “questionable activities” on private detectives and sought to distance Ackermann and his management board from the affair, which now has public prosecutors considering a criminal probe.

Deutsche said there was “no indication” that members of the management board had knowledge of, or were involved in activities that raised legal issues.

Although Deutsche Bank’s snooping was sporadic compared with the systemic monitoring of workers that forced the chief executive of rail group Deutsche Bahn to quit earlier this year, it has focused unwanted attention on the lender. The affair strikes a raw nerve in a country still trying to come to terms with its past, where spying on citizens was commonplace in the Communist East.

Boersig, who has a reputation for a short temper and aggressive management style, is likely to face questions at the meeting on Tuesday about how Deutsche became involved in four incidents of spying, the sources said. Boersig was seen as a potential replacement for Ackermann before the bank decided to extend Ackermann’s contract.

The bank last week said one incident of spying on a troublesome shareholder “originated” from a conversation between Boersig and the global head of investor relations. [ID:nLM598901] The bank did not say 61-year-old Boersig knew of any rogue tactics. Deutsche Bank and Boersig declined to comment to Reuters.


As part of steps to clean up its act, Deutsche commissioned a report to investigate the matter and beefed up internal controls. The report is about 180 pages long and was compiled by law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, a person familiar with it said.

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

Prior to taking “further corrective action”, the bank plans to await completion of the still ongoing investigations by German regulator BaFin, the data protection authorities of the State of Hessen and the Frankfurt state prosecutors’ office.

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

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

Separately, Deutsche Bank is also expected to unveil on Tuesday second-quarter pretax profit that more than doubled from a year earlier, to 1.47 billion euros ($2.1 billion), boosted by fixed income trading, a Reuters poll showed.

That result is below the first quarter’s pretax profit of 1.82 billion euros. [ID: nLN103657]

Reporting by Edward Taylor and Philipp Halstrick; editing by Erica Billingham

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