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Longstanding Deutsche Bank lawsuit settled with Kirch family

The family of the late Leo Kirch has been seeking monetary recompense for the collapse of his empire

The family of Leo Kirch has been seeking upwards of €3.3 billion in recompense for the late media mogul's empire -- the collapse of which they blame on German banking firm Deutsche Bank. For over a decade, Leo Kirch -- who died in 2011 -- and his family have been in a legal dispute with Deutsche Bank over the downfall of the Kirch Group, which started in 2002. Deutsche Bank's chief executive officer Rolf Breuer publicly questioned the creditworthiness of the Kirch Group in that year, and the group subsequently suffered lawsuit upon lawsuit, and enough negative media attention to contribute to its ultimate collapse.

Deutsche Bank has finally agreed to compensate the Kirch family in the form of €775 million, plus interest and costs, which amount to another €150 million according to Bloomberg, which will settle the long-running dispute with Leo Kirch's heirs, albeit far under the family's sought-after sum. 

Jürgen Fitschen and Anshu Jain, the Deutsche Bank co-chief executives, said in a statement reported in The New York Times: “With today’s agreement, we are resolving a well-known and long-standing legacy matter. In our judgment, this is in the best interests of our stakeholders. We intend to make further progress in this regard, step-by-step, throughout 2014.”

Of course, this is not the first time within the last year that the German banking firm has been in the media in a negative light; the bank reported losses in its Q4 earnings report in January that surprised investors and which were a direct result of litigation expenses. In 2013, the bank's former AG managing director Ma Sin-Chi was imprisoned for accepting bribes. The bank has also been under fire and fined by the European Commission for rigging benchmark interest rates, having somewhat admitted to helping authorities potentially manipulate foreign-exchange rates. No doubt, the bank will welcome the opportunity to be rid of the 12 year-long legal dispute with the Kirch family.


Further reading:

Former Deutsche Bank managing director imprisoned for accepting bribes

JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank join ban on multiparty chat rooms

European Commission fines six companies for Libor manipulation

Contributing Author

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Juliana Kenny

Juliana Kenny is a contributor to, covering a range of topics including patent litigation, conflict mineral laws, executive compensation, and antitrust regulation. Juliana earned B.A.s...

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