Deutsche Bank AGM halted by protesters
Friday 24 May 2013
Deutsche Bank's chief executive Anshu Jain was forced to abandon a speech at his company's annual meeting in Frankfurt yesterday after investors mounted a protest.
Shareholders vented their anger by throwing paper in the air and accusing the company of being "crisis-profiteers". Mr Jain was interrupted by a group of about 10 protesters who removed black suits to reveal red T-shirts emblazoned with the words The Superfluous – an activist group campaigning for an end to extortion, war, discrimination and racism. Security guards removed the group.
A gathering of more than 20 anti-capitalist protesters had earlier set up stalls and held banners outside the meeting. Despite the protests, Mr Jain and his co-chief executive Jürgen Fitschen promised to overhaul the company's corporate culture, which has been damaged by a series of scandals in the past few months.
"Mistakes were made in the past that undermined our good name. We realise that we have to win back the trust of our clients and society," Mr Fitschen said.
Germany's largest lender is embroiled in the Libor fixing scandal as well as being drawn into a carbon permits tax investigation after raids on its offices in Berlin, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt.
German prosecutors said last year that they were investigating 25 staff at the bank for possible tax evasion, money laundering and obstruction of justice. About 500 police and tax inspectors searched the premises, arresting five staff.
The case relates to EU rules limiting the carbon dioxide that companies emit. Businesses that pollute less can sell credits to those that need more. The company confirmed that board members were involved in the inquiry.
Analysts have estimated that Deutsche Bank could face total litigation costs of about $3.8bn (£2.5bn). Shareholders warned that much needs to be done to restore trust.
Ingo Speich, a portfolio manager at Union investment, said: "The clean-up has begun but it will take a long time until trust in the bank is restored. "The new direction and the initial results are on the whole positive. Now it's about staying on track."
Klaus Nieding, who represents Germany's largest association of private investors, said: "We seem to be unable to open a daily newspaper without reading about some regulatory scandal which Deutsche is involved in."
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