BERLIN — German state prosecutors on Friday rejected a lawsuit by bankrupt media baron Leo Kirch accusing former Deutsche Bank chief exec Rolf Breuer of slander and betraying business confidentiality.
Breuer expressed doubts about Kirch’s creditworthiness in an interview in February — comments Kirch maintained influenced banks to halt loans to his company. Kirch filed for insolvency in April.
“Because the facts had already been given to the press before the interview, Dr Breuer’s guilt can be ruled out,” Frankfurt state prosecutor Rainer Schilling said in a statement.
The ruling topped off a week of setbacks for Kirch, who lost a bid for his former sports rights business Kirch Sport, which was taken over by a management-led buyout backed by former Adidas chief Robert Louis-Dreyfus.
That came days after courts allowed Deutsche Bank to take over Kirch’s 40% stake in German publisher Axel Springer in lieu of a $725 million loan.
Kirch’s troubles have no end in sight. Prosecutors are now investigating whether Kirch broke the law by giving top execs low-interest loans in the millions before his group went belly up. Prosecutors are looking to see if such loans may have kept the company from meeting payments to creditors.