HSH chiefs cleared

Six former directors of German shipping lender HSH Nordbank have been acquitted of accounting fraud.

Ex-chief executive Dirk Nonnenmacher, his predecessor Hans Berger and four other former members of the bank's executive board were also cleared of breach of trust by a Hamburg court.

The prosecution could not prove the six violated their oversight duties in financial transactions and investments during their terms in office, the presiding judge, Marc Tully, said, according to news agencies.

Prosecutor Karsten Wegerich had called for suspended sentences of a maximum three years for the main defendants as well as fines of up to EUR 150,000 ($204,000).

The verdict can be appealed.

The bank had to bailed out by its two state owners following the financial crisis of 2008.

Prosecutors accused the bank's managers of improperly accounting for the so-called Omega 55 deal, which was aimed at making the HSH balance sheet appear stronger ahead of a planned listing on the Frankfurt stock exchange.