Deutsche Bank head in £40m-bonus retrial

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The Independent Online

Deutsche Bank's chief executive Josef Ackermann returned to court in Dusseldorf, Germany yesterday to face charges that he broke the law by approving bumper bonuses at the telecoms group Mannesmann.

Mr Ackermann, 58, and five others are being retried for allegedly approving almost €60m (£40.3m) of payments to departing executives of Mannesmann after the German firm was bought by the UK mobile giant Vodafone in 2000. Last year, the German High Court overturned their earlier acquittal at the same court.

Mr Ackermann will follow other defendants in giving a statement of his version of the events when the court reconvenes on 2 November.

The Swiss-born bankerhas been credited with boosting Deutsche Bank's profitability by increasing its focus on investment banking. But during the first trial, he was criticised for flashing a V-for-victory sign.

Mr Ackermann, who has always declared his innocence, would step down if found guilty this time - a verdict that could include a fine or even a prison term. Keen to prevent such an outcome, he aims for an out-of-court settlement, sources said. If the prosecutors agree, he would pay a fine and leave court without a criminal conviction.