January 26, 2016 / 12:58 PM / 2 years ago

German judge questions evidence against Deutsche Bank co-CEO

MUNICH, Jan 26 (Reuters) - The presiding judge in a trial against Deutsche Bank co-Chief Executive Juergen Fitschen on Tuesday questioned the evidence presented by prosecutors in the case.

Fitschen is accused of giving misleading evidence in connection with the 2002 collapse of the Kirch media empire.

“The witnesses have largely not corroborated the evidence,” judge Peter Noll told the Munich court on Tuesday.

Noll will ultimately decide on whether Fitschen and his co-defendants, who include former Deutsche Bank CEOs Josef Ackermann and Rolf Breuer, misled an appeals court in order to avoid paying damages sought by media mogul Leo Kirch.

Kirch, who died in 2011, blamed Breuer for triggering his group’s downfall by questioning its creditworthiness in a 2002 television interview.

After 12 years of legal wrangling, Deutsche Bank settled the civil suit in February 2014 in a deal that cost the bank about 925 million euros.

Fitschen and his fellow defendants, who face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison if convicted, have denied the charges.

A verdict in the case, which has been a distraction for Deutsche Bank’s senior management as it works on a strategic overhaul, is due in March or April. (Reporting by Jörn Poltz; Writing by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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