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Defense: No Basis to Mannesmann Case

Lawyers for Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann and five other former Mannesmann officials, facing allegations of accepting huge payoffs during the three-month hostile takeover battle of Mannesmann by Vodafone, told a German court Thursday that state prosecutors had failed to prove any of the charges. The prosecutors' case is a "fairy tale of bribery, corruption and conspiracy for which there was never any basis," Eberhard Kempf, Ackermann's lawyer told a Düsseldorf regional court. "Six months of proceedings, numerous testimonies of witnesses and countless documents have refuted what could never be proved," Kempf said. Ackermann and others including ex-IG Metall union head Klaus Zwickel stand accused of approving more than €57 million in management buy-outs during the €154 billion takeover fight. Defense lawyers will conclude their final statements next week. A verdict is likely by the end of the month.