Commerzbank stalls over unpaid bonuses lawsuit

COMMERZBANK will not be able to delay indefinitely a lawsuit by former employees seeking bonuses they claim were guaranteed but withheld, a lawyer acting for the staff said.<br /><br />The bank yesterday said it had won a 28-day extension to prepare a defence against 72 employees of Dresdner Kleinwort, now part of the German bank, who allege that the bank&rsquo;s failure to pay out around &euro;33.6m (&pound;31m) in bonuses was a breach of contract.<br /><br />Clive Zietman, of Stewarts Law, said it was common for a defendant to seek extra time but added that &ldquo;there will come a point when we will require them to serve a defence&rdquo;.<br /><br />Rival law firm Mischon de Reya confirmed it would also launch a case from a separate group of 25 one-time Dresdner staff.<br /><br />Partner Daniel Naftalin said: &ldquo;In the next couple of weeks, a large number of similar cases&hellip; are likely to be issued in the High Court.&rdquo;<br /><br />The plaintiffs allege they received a fraction of their 2008 bonuses after Commerzbank bought Dresdner Kleinwort last year and slashed its bonus pot by 90 per cent, citing a material adverse change in economic conditions.