Germany's most spectacular white-collar criminal case, the Mannesmann trial, was dropped by the Dusseldorf Regional Court on Wednesday in exchange for millions in fines. This means that Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann and the five co-defendants are still considered innocent and have no criminal record. They had to stand trial on charges of serious breach of trust and aiding and abetting such acts.
Ackermann must pay 3.2 million euros The 10. The state chamber thus followed a motion by the defense, which had been agreed to by the public prosecutor's office. With the decision, the proceedings have ended prematurely without a final verdict. Ackermann has to pay 3.2 million euros, ex-Mannesmann CEO Klaus Esser 1.5 million euros. The former Mannesmann supervisory board chairman Joachim Funk is asked with one million euro to the cash. The court fined former IG Metall chairman Klaus Zwickel 60,000 euros and the other two co-defendants 30,000 and 15,000 euros respectively.In the course of the takeover of Mannesmann by the British mobile communications giant Vodafone, a total of 57 million euros in bonuses and severance payments to Mannesmann managers at the time were approved by the supervisory board of the Dusseldorf-based group in 2000 – Esser alone received 15 million euros. Among others, Ackermann and Zwickel sat on the presidium. The trial was about whether the defendants had breached their duty to look after Mannesmann's assets by granting and accepting the bonuses.
Justification: Lack of public interest In his reasoning, presiding judge Stefan Drees referred to a lack of public interest in continuing the proceedings. Clarification of outstanding legal ies is not mandatory because they are "predominantly ies that are not of general importance beyond the present case".Already six years ago, none of the lawyers and auditors consulted by Mannesmann had specifically advised waiving payment of the bonuses, Drees noted. Even at that time, numerous legal questions of importance for the proceedings had been unresolved, which could now no longer be clarified in a legally binding manner "within a foreseeable period of time". The reasoning is based on Section 153a of the German Code of Criminal Procedure, which allows the proceedings to be discontinued.Beyond the trial, important legal ies related to the rights and duties of supervisory board members in the management of corporate assets are seen by the 10. Criminal division already clarified by federal trial court ruling a year ago. The highest federal judges had overturned the acquittals from the first Mannesmann trial two years ago and referred the trial back to Dusseldorf.