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Business

Ex-Mannesmann Chief Under Fire

Former Mannesmann chairman Klaus Esser faced fresh accusations of wrongdoing by German prosecutors Friday in their appeal of his acquittal last year over the takeover of the firm by British mobile phone giant Vodafone. Prosecutor Ralf Wehowsky told the Federal Supreme Court that Esser had been closely involved in preparing the multi-million-euro package of golden handshakes for managers at the end of the takeover battle in 2000 from which he also profited. Esser accepted some 16 million euros ($19 million) of a total of 57 million euros in bonuses for executives in what prosecutors branded a sweetheart deal that undermined Mannesmann's interests. In July 2004, Deutsche Bank chief Josef Ackermann and five others were cleared by a court in Düsseldorf of charges of breach of fiduciary duty for rubber-stamping the bonuses. Prosecutors, including chief federal prosecutor Kay Nehm, filed an appeal against the not-guilty verdict.

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