GERMANY - A Frankfurt court has dismissed an injunction filed by US asset manager BlackRock against Achim Küssner, the former head of its German operation who joined Schroders as its new German head on Monday.

According to a  spokesman for the court, the Landgericht, BlackRock's injunction sought to prohibit Küssner and four former BlackRock fund professionals who accompanied him to Schroders from working until 31 March 2008.

"I cannot tell you the basis for the court's ruling as it will not be available in written form for three weeks," a spokesman for the court told IPE.

The spokesman added that once the court's ruling is published, BlackRock had the option of appealing the decision with a higher court in Frankfurt.

The others mentioned in the injunction were Robert Schlichting, Joachim Nareike, Clemens Bertram and Melanie Stahl. As at BlackRock, Schlichting takes charge of institutional sales, while Nareike is Küssner's deputy.

Neither BlackRock nor its three lawyers were willing to comment on the Küssner case. Küssner was also not immediately available for comment.

Küssner and Gavin Ralston, Schroders' head of continental Europe were present at the court hearing. Robert Connolly, general counsel for BlackRock, also flew in from the firm's New York headquarters.

According to sources present at the hearing that spoke on the condition of anonymity, BlackRock's lawyers informed the court that Küssner used its e-mail server to correspond with a headhunter for Schroders.

Presenting the e-mails as evidence, the lawyers alleged that Küssner arranged his move and that of four colleagues to Schroders, the sources said.

The sources added that the lawyers further asserted that once it was clear in March that Küssner and his four colleagues would join Schroders, BlackRock's German business declined 20-30%.

It is not clear whether BlackRock sought compensation for the alleged decline in business, though the sources said one of its lawyer cited a figure of €500,000.

The sources also said that Küssner's lawyer dismissed the allegations, noting that BlackRock had no right to monitor e-mails of its employees under German data protection laws.

BlackRock's failed injunction in Germany comes more than three weeks after a federal judge in the US dismissed a suit it filed against Schroders seeking damages for poaching its employees.