Deutsche Bank paid its management board members their first bonuses in four years in 2018.

Its chief executive Christian Sewing's €7m total pay package makes him one of the best paid chief executives in European banking. 

Deutsche Bank's politically sensitive pay disclosures, which were revealed in its annual report today, come as it contemplates a merger with Commerzbank. 

Unions fear the merger could lead to up to 30,000 job cuts. 

Sewing, who became CEO in April last year, led Deutsche Bank to its first profit in four years and is heading the talks with Commerzbank. He earned €2.9m for 2017.  

Sewing's 2018 pay was higher than the CEOs of several other major European investment banks, including HSBC's CEO John Flint and Barclays boss Jes Staley. 

However, the Deutsche Bank CEO received less than his counterpart at Credit Suisse Tidjane Thiam, who got 12.65 million Swiss francs ($12.7m). 

Deutsche Bank's annual report also revealed that its management board received total pay, including bonuses, of €55.7m in 2018, up from €29.8m a year earlier. 

The overall bonus pool for 2018 was €1.9 billion, down 14% from €2.3 billion a year earlier, partly as a result of a reduction in headcount, Deutsche Bank said. 

Bonuses are a sensitive issue in Germany where many politicians and public opinion are critical of high pay and Anglo-Saxon style capitalism. 

A spokesman for Deutsche Bank declined to comment. 

Deutsche Bank has paid large fines for past misdeeds, including a $7.2 billion US penalty in 2017, spooking clients. 

And last year it was ensnared in a money laundering scandal involving Danske Bank, while its offices were raided over two days in November in relation to a separate inquiry. 

Litigation costs are expected to be "significantly higher"in 2019 than in 2018, Deutsche Bank said in the report. 

John Cryan, Sewing's predecessor, received €8.7m in severance pay and a €2.2m payment to compensate him for what he could earn with a competitor. 

Last year's management reshuffle, which involved Cryan and three other board members, was costly for Deutsche Bank, which paid a combined €25.8m in severance and restraint on competition fees for the four executives, figures in the annual report and provided by the bank revealed.