TIMES.KY

Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Friday, May 24, 2024

Wirecard: Germany's biggest fraud trial to start underground

Wirecard: Germany's biggest fraud trial to start underground

The once publicly listed company worth billions had Angela Merkel lobbying on its behalf.
Germany's biggest fraud case gets underway as the former executives of payments company Wirecard stand trial after a scandal that rocked the German establishment.

In a new, bomb-proof court built 5m (16ft) underground to try terror suspects, CEO Markus Braun will appear.

He, and two other Wirecard managers, Oliver Bellenhaus and Stephan von Erffa, stand charged with fraud and market manipulation offences for their alleged role in the collapse of the payments company.

They could be jailed for up to 15 years if convicted.

Wirecard was at one point valued at $28bn (£22.9bn). It rose to prominence from being a porn and gambling payments processor to a respected tech company, listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and a constituent company of the Dax index of German blue chip companies.

The prosecution has argued that Wirecard management invented company revenue to trick investors and creditors.

Mr Braun has been in custody since 2020 and the company has admitted €1.9bn (£1.63bn) went missing, but he denied embezzling money and accused others of running a shadow operation without his knowledge.

He was arrested for a second time in July 2020 on suspicion of being part of an organised criminal enterprise that obtained more than €3bn from creditors in a scheme based on faked accounts.

The Wirecard fall was meteoric. It became the only Dax member to file for bankruptcy, owing creditors nearly $4bn (£3.28bn). The downfall shook German politics and regulators and hit the country's business reputation.
Advertisement

The company counted former German chancellor Angela Merkel as a supporter as she lobbied for Wirecard in China as it pursued an acquisition. For a short time she considered bailing the firm out.

Current chancellor Olaf Scholz also came in for criticism as he served as finance minister under Ms Merkel.

Criticism had been levelled at Mr Scholz for a lack of oversight of the company during his finance tenure. In the wake of the scandal he bolstered the powers of the German financial regulator, BaFin, and brought in new leadership of the watchdog. BaFin's head as well as the boss of Germany's accounting watchdog had stepped down, following the company's demise.

Wirecard had successfully lobbied German authorities not to investigate the company and instead look into the investors and journalists making claims of wrongdoing.

Both Ms Merkel and Mr Scholz have said they are not to blame for the scandal.

Former executive Mr Bellenhaus became a key witness after turning himself in to the German authorities in 2020 while Mr von Erffa expressed regret about the Wirecard events, but denied orchestrating them. His lawyer said to Reuters that Mr von Erffa did not want to comment on the charges.

Not on trial is Wirecard's former chief operating officer Jan Marsalek, a key suspect and currently an international fugitive with unknown whereabouts.

A verdict is not expected before 2024 at the earliest and there are hundreds of court dates scheduled until the end of 2023 to hear the case.
Newsletter

Related Articles

TIMES.KY
0:00
0:00
Close
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
×