Deutsche Bank co-CEO, 4 others face charges

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Prosecutors in Germany have charged Deutsche Bank co-CEO Juergen Fitschen and four other former top officials with lying to judges in a protracted legal battle between the bank and the now-defunct Kirch media group.

The Munich prosecutor's office said Fitschen and former CEOs Rolf Breuer and Josef Ackermann faced attempted fraud charges, while two other former executives were charged with making false statements.

A court must rule whether there is enough evidence for a trial to be held.

Deutsche Bank said it was the bank's policy not to comment on ongoing litigation, but referred to previous statements "underlining our belief that the allegation against Juergen Fitschen will prove unfounded." Fitschen has also denied the charges.

Media mogul Leo Kirch, who died in 2011, had accused then-CEO Breuer of contributing to the 2002 bankruptcy of his company by saying in an interview that banks would not lend Kirch's company any more money.

Kirch sued. During testimony in that case, prosecutors said, Breuer made false statements aimed at avoiding monetary damages against the bank.

After the court challenged the truthfulness of Breuer's testimony, prosecutors said, the bank made a written submission containing a false statement backing up Breuer's account. The five defendants all declared themselves in agreement with the statement, which contained a false assertion of fact, the prosecutors said.

Fitschen was a top Deutsche Bank executive at the time. In May, 2012, he became co-CEO along with Anshu Jain.

Deutsche Bank settled with Kirch's heirs in February by agreeing to pay 775 million euros ($997 million).

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