Nearly seven years after he and other board members handed out thank-you checks for €57 million to the departing executives of a German telecommunications company, Josef Ackermann has learned the high cost of his generosity.
Ackermann, the chief executive of Deutsche Bank, will pay €3.2 million, or $4.2 million, as part of a settlement Friday with German prosecutors that ends a landmark criminal case in which he and three other directors were accused of improperly enriching the managers of Mannesmann.
Klaus Esser, the company’s former chief executive, will pay €1.5 million. He received the bulk of the disputed bonuses after capitulating to a $183 billion takeover bid by Vodafone in early 2000.
In return for the payments, prosecutors will drop charges of criminal breach of trust that, in Ackermann’s case, could have cost him his job at Deutsche Bank, the largest German bank.
A state court in Düsseldorf must ratify the settlement, which legal experts said would probably happen next Wednesday.