Deutsche Bank Wins Kirch Case Over 2011 Annual Accounts

Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) defeated a bid by the wife of the late media tycoon Leo Kirch to void the lender’s 2011 accounts in the latest round of a decade-long legal fight against the bank.

The Frankfurt Higher Regional Court rejected Kirch’s arguments that Europe’s biggest investment bank by revenue should have made provisions in 2011 for a claim by Kirch’s heirs in a Munich tribunal. The ruling was issued earlier this week, Daniela Joesten, a court spokeswoman, said by telephone today.

Ruth Kirch “didn’t sufficiently show that from the bank’s point of view there was a predominant probability that the damage claim was founded,” the judges wrote.

Companies that formed the empire of the late German media tycoon Kirch say in lawsuits that Germany’s biggest bank secretly plotted the group’s demise in 2002. After losing a damage suit case in December, the bank in April for the first time made provisions for these claims while it is seeking to overturn the ruling.

Deutsche Bank should have made provisions of 5 billion euros ($6.7 billion), Kirch said in the appeals case, referring to a 2011 settlement proposal by the Munich court.

She also argued Deutsche Bank should have made provisions for 4 billion euros in bonuses not yet paid out to investment managers.

Kirch hasn’t received the written judgment in today’s case, her spokesman said in a phone interview. Based on what judges said at the hearing, she is likely to seek an appeal, he said.

Bonus Guesswork

The bonus argument was just guesswork and not substantiated by facts, the judges wrote. Under the settlement proposal Kirch would have gotten only 750 million euros, showing that the Munich court didn’t think the claim was a safe bet, they said. Even if the allegations were valid, the amount at stake wouldn’t be material given the total size of Deutsche Bank’s balance sheet.

In a separate ruling, the appeals court stayed proceedings in an appeals case in which Deutsche Bank is seeking to overturn a ruling declaring the 2012 elections of the supervisory board void.

That ruling had prompted the bank to hold an extraordinary meeting in April to confirm motions originally passed at their 2012 annual meeting, including the appointment of Chairman Paul Achleitner. The case will be stayed until a separate action over the April meeting will have been decided, the judges said.

Today’s case is: OLG Frankfurt, 5 U 14/13.

To contact the reporter on this story: Karin Matussek in Berlin at kmatussek@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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