In Germany, the parliamentary investigation into a large-scale fraud by the payment company Wirecard has reached its peak. For months, an investigation committee has been working hard to investigate the truth of this matter. This week it is the government’s turn. Two ministers and two secretaries of state have testified, and today Chancellor Merkel is undergoing the test.
Germany’s Wirecard is accused of fabricating 1.9 billion euros in revenue to make the company more attractive to investors. After the fraud became widely known, the stock price of the payment company plummeted: 20 billion euros disappeared, and thousands of investors became victims.
Signs that things are not right have been there for years. There have been many criticisms of how the financial regulator BaFin handles this issue. Instead of properly investigating the allegations, the agency filed a complaint against key media and prohibited investors from betting on Wirecard’s stock price decline.
The Parliamentary Investigation Committee has held more than 300 hours of meetings, during which 80 witnesses have spoken. The interrogation revealed that, among other things, several BaFin employees held shares in Wirecard. Markus Braun, also the former CEO of Wirecard, Must appear before the committee. To the frustration of committee members, he invoked his right to remain silent on most issues.
So far, hearings at the highest political level have not provided hopeful clarification. The arrival of Secretary of State Jörg Kukies is particularly exciting. He maintains close contact with Wirecard and is also the contact point for the Bafin government.So he knows all their disputes Short sellingThe use of Wirecard sharing is prohibited. Now, it is widely believed that this is a fatal signal to show to the stock market that allegations of fraud are untrue, and that speculating on price drops is a speculation by speculators.
Why didn’t Kukies intervene? He said during the interrogation on Wednesday that he wanted to “respect the independence of the watchdog.”
So what about intimate contact? Kukies met with chef Markus Braun on his 50th birthday. But Kutches assured that nothing strange happened: Kutches assured that he would have faced Braun with fraud charges. He has never attended a party, and has never had a cell phone number. Kutches said: “Wirecard has never been in a privileged position.”
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz also stated that he never put his hands on Wirecard. He is not responsible for the fact that Wirecard can last so long without BaFin hindering the company. They were fooled, and this is what his defense boils down to. The minister said: “This company has apparently handled a high level of criminal activity.”
Merkel’s trial today will mainly focus on China’s trade journey in 2019. There, she discussed Wirecard with President Xi Jinping. She may have said a good thing to the company’s Chinese leader, when she wanted to enter the Chinese market and wanted to take over China’s payment service company Allscore.
It is also interesting to see the extent to which Merkel was influenced by the former minister, Count Karl Theodor Zugutenburg, but was later hired as a lobbyist for Wirecard. Not long before his visit to China, he was allowed to drink tea with Merkel.
Commissioner Fabio di Masi especially wanted van Merkel to understand why she continued to promote payment companies, and there were already enough signs that something went wrong.
“It is normal for the government to act as a corporate ambassador in the country. However, because the well-known business newspaper “Financial Times” has published many critical articles and warned the company that if regulators have already expressed concern about this, parliamentary problems already exist. When asked, if you still see the company as a national champion, then I think this is at least problematic,” Dimasi said.
After this week, the trial will be over and the committee will write its final report. Di Masi is not satisfied with the research results. “Maybe there will not be a summit meeting at the highest political level, but there have been many things that people have to take responsibility for. If the committee is not there, for example, the boss of BaFin will never be fired.”