Germany’s biggest bank – Deutsche Bank – is being investigated on suspicion it may have manipulated its balance sheet.
The investigation is in connection to a long-running legal dispute with the now-defunct Kirch media group. Deutsche Bank is alleged not to have set aside provisions to cover damages and compensation that a court ordered it to pay to Kirch.
Kirch imploded in 2002 shortly after Deutsche’s former boss questioned its creditworthiness in a TV interview.
A probe had been launched against “Deutsche Bank officials”, a spokesman for state prosecutors said, without providing any further details.
Back in December 2003, a court in Munich ruled that Deutsche Bank’s then chairman Rolf Breuer had violated his duty of client confidentiality by publicly questioning Kirch Group’s creditworthiness on television in 2002.
The court ordered Deutsche Bank to pay unspecified compensation to Kirch, but the bank has challenged this ruling.
Shortly after Mr Breuer’s remarks, banks began to refuse to lend Kirch any more money and KirchMedia, the main pillar of the Kirch Group, filed for insolvency in April 2002.