Deutsche Bank fends off criticism, sees big legal bill in 2016

Thu May 19, 2016 1:56pm EDT
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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: Quote) drew scathing criticism from shareholders on Thursday over its dramatic share price decline, costly legal wrangles and public squabbling among its directors.

Chairman Paul Achleitner defended his record and sought to head off criticism he was too slow to push for changes in top management and strategy at Germany's biggest lender, which has seen its share price fall by half over the last year and posted a record $7.6 billion loss in 2015.

"I am sticking to my duty and to my responsibilities," Achleitner told 5,400 shareholders at the annual meeting.

"I am standing here today and I would stand here again if my post were due for re-election," said the 59-year-old Austrian, chairman since 2012.

Chief Executive John Cryan warned shareholders he expects further significant legal charges this year. Deutsche Bank has already set aside provisions of 5.4 billion euros ($6 billion) to settle pending litigation.

"Litigation expenses of this magnitude are completely unacceptable," Cryan said, to broad applause from shareholders.

Claims filed by individuals, companies and regulators against Deutsche have related to mis-selling of subprime loans and manipulation of foreign exchange rates or gold and silver prices. Other lawsuits were over the rigging of borrowing benchmarks Libor and Euribor.

Cryan has said he hopes to have settled Deutsche's main legacy legal problems by later this year but new suits are still cropping up.

Deutsche was named on Wednesday as one of five major banks in a private U.S. lawsuit alleging they conspired to rig prices worldwide in a more than $9 trillion market for bonds issued by government-linked organizations and agencies.   Continued...

Deutsche Bank co-CEO Juergen Fitschen addresses the bank's annual general meeting in Frankfurt, Germany, May 19, 2016.    REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach