October 18, 2016 / 10:01 AM / a year ago

Prosecutor appeals acquittal of ex-Deutsche Bank bosses in Kirch trial

FRANKFURT, Oct 18 (Reuters) - German public prosecutors have launched an appeal over the acquittal of former top executives at Deutsche Bank who were charged with misleading a court in connection with the 2002 collapse of the Kirch media empire.

The regional court in Munich ruled in April it had found no evidence of the prosecution’s allegations that former Deutsche Bank chief executives Juergen Fitschen, Josef Ackermann and Rolf Breuer gave misleading evidence in an earlier trial in connection with the Kirch bankruptcy.

The court said on Tuesday that an appeal had been filed, extending 14 years of legal wrangling.

Aside from the Kirch lawsuit, Deutsche Bank has been dealing with a string of other legal issues, which have cost Germany’s flagship bank billions of euros in fines.

Deutsche has been engulfed in crisis since news emerged last month of a U.S. Department of Justice demand for $14 billion to settle allegations it mis-sold mortgage securities before the global financial crisis.

Leo Kirch, who died in 2011, had blamed former Deutsche Bank chairman Rolf Breuer for triggering his group’s downfall by questioning its creditworthiness in a 2002 television interview.

The Kirch case became one of Germany’s most acrimonious corporate disputes. Deutsche Bank settled a civil suit in February 2014 in a deal costing about 925 million euros.

Munich prosecutors had accused the former Deutsche Bank managers of misleading an appeals court to avoid paying damages sought by media mogul Kirch.

Fitschen and his co-defendants, who, if convicted, could have faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, denied the charges from the outset. (Reporting by Alexander Hübner; Writing by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Mark Potter)

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