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Deutsche probe finds chairman did not breach his duties: report

[FRANKFURT] Deutsche Bank has cleared its chairman of accusations by shareholders that he was partly to blame for the bank's poor cooperation with authorities over alleged rate-rigging, daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung has cited financial sources as saying.

Last year, Deutsche Bank agreed to settle a case over the alleged manipulation of interbank rates such as Libor for a record US$2.5 billion with US and British authorities, which had accused the lender of obstructing their investigations.

Some shareholders subsequently accused chairman Paul Achleitner and other board members of being responsible for the bank's poor cooperation, which led to it having to pay more to settle the case than other lenders.

Now an internal probe has concluded that Mr Achleitner did not breach his duties in the handling of a probe into rate rigging, the paper said in a pre-released version of its Monday edition, without naming its sources.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment.

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A motion calling for an additional external investigation was voted down at the annual general meeting in May. Shareholder advisory groups ISS and Glass Lewis had recommended investors back a shareholder motion for a probe into whether fines for wrongdoing were higher at Deutsche because management obstructed or misled investigators.

Last year, the UK's Financial Conduct Authority fined Deutsche for the manipulation of lending benchmarks Libor and Euribor, saying it had increased the penalty because the bank had "repeatedly" misled it.

Any evidence of wrongdoing would have made it an uphill battle for Mr Achleitner to secure a second term as chairman.

Several shareholders said on Friday that an extension to Mr Achleitner's contract was anyhow imperilled by Deutsche's poor earnings and faltering share price.

Deutsche is still investigating some former top executives, the paper added.

One of Deutsche's biggest problems is litigation following a series of scandals. The bill for fines and lawsuits since 2012 has already hit 12.6 billion euros (S$19.54 billion). Deutsche paid more than US$3 billion in fines alone for manipulation of interbank rates.


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