The Associated Press

FRANKFURT, Germany Ä Germany's biggest commercial bank is setting aside hundreds of millions of dollars to cover possible losses from a missing real estate tycoon's bankruptcy, the bank's president said Monday.

Deutsche Bank has come under fire for seemingly careless lending to Juergen Schneider, billionaire owner of Germany's largest property-development companies.

Schneider, 59 vanished the weekend of April 2-3 and his company, Dr. Juergen Schneider AG, filed for bankruptcy days later. The action sent shock waves through Germany's recession-plagued economy.

No arrest warrant is out for Schneider, and his whereabouts remain unknown.

Deutsche Bank was Schneider's largest creditor with loans of about $700 million. It filed a complaint against Schneider, who is under investigation for fraud. He is suspected of inflating projected income from rental properties to gain more loans.

The bank cannot estimate its loss from Schneider's bankruptcy, but it is setting aside hundreds of millions of dollars to cover possible losses, Deutsche Bank chief Hilmar Kopper told a news conference in Frankfurt.

Kopper said the bank is conducting an internal audit to find out what happened.

"Credit fraud was prepared and comitted intentionally and systematically," Kopper said. "We allowed ourselves to be deceived, but we can't say yet whether this is human error, a weakness in the system for granting mortgage loans or both."

He said the bank tried to freeze about 128 million of Schneider's assets in a Swiss bank account, but it was too late. Read Next Article