Deutsche Bank Wins Putin's Praise

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin praised Deutsche Bank's operations in Russia at a meeting with chief executive Josef Ackermann on Friday, amid media speculation that Russian tycoons are building a stake in the bank.

Putin noted that Deutsche Bank's business in his country had helped Russian firms raise $10 billion in initial public offerings in 2007, and it advised mergers and acquisition deals worth $22 billion.

"A solid, big job," Putin said during a meeting at the White House. "The bank serves as a bridge between the Russian and German economies."

A Kommersant report that billionaire Suleiman Kerimov is interested in buying stakes in major European banks and wants other tycoons to join him briefly lifted shares in several major European banks last week.

A source familiar with Kerimov's plans told Kommersant that Kerimov owns about 3 percent in Deutsche and plans to take his stake to 9 percent.

Deutsche said it was not aware of his ownership.

Kerimov's investment firm declined to comment.

A spokesman for Deutsche Bank in Moscow said Ackermann and Putin had met for a "general exchange about German-Russian relations, with some focus on economic relations."

"Our work in Russia is very productive despite the global financial crisis," Ackermann told Putin.

"We have no crisis," Putin replied.