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Deutsche's Ackermann Defends Mannesmann Bonuses

Germany's most powerful banker on Wednesday defended his role in approving large payments for executives in a high-stakes telecoms takeover four years ago, testifying at his trial that he acted "without regard to my own benefit," according to the Associated Press. Deutsche Bank chief executive Josef Ackermann and five others went on trial last month on criminal charges of improperly approving or accepting bonuses and retirement packages totaling 150 million marks ($68 million) to executives of German mobile phone company Mannesmann during its February 2000 takeover by British telecoms giant Vodafone. But Ackermann argues that the payments, including some 60 million marks ($27 million) to former Mannesmann chief executive Klaus Esser, were a tiny fraction of the increase in the value of Mannesmann stock during Esser's tenure in the buildup to the merger -- and a just reward for boosting the company's value.