Wirecard Collapses Into Insolvency After Week of Scandal

Days after a €1.9 billion hole was discovered in its balance sheet, the German payments company is opening insolvency proceedings and its former CEO has been charged with fraud.

Last week, news broke that EY auditors refused to sign off on Wirecard’s accounts for 2019, citing a missing sum of €1.9 billion that documents purported to be held in two bank accounts in the Philippines. CEO Markus Braun claimed that the company was the victim of “the victim in a substantial case of fraud,” and COO Jan Marsalek was suspended, later to be terminated. Braun then resigned from the company on Friday.

Braun turned himself over to Munich police on Monday evening after a warrant for his arrest was issued. He is suspected of recording false transactions to artificially inflate Wirecard’s sales, increasing its value in the eyes of customers and investors. Philippine authorities are also investigating the whereabouts of Marsalek as part of a broader probe into the company.

On Thursday, the company said in a statement that it would apply to the Munich district court to open insolvency proceedings as a result of its “impending insolvency and over-indebtedness.”

The company’s shares were suspended from the Frankfurt Stock Exchange before the announcement was released.

Wirecard was long regarded as a star in the German fintech scene – a DAX 30 company which was once valued at €24 billion. That value has plummeted through the floor as the week of revelations continued, though it saw a brief 27% uptick on Tuesday following the news of Braun’s arrest.

Trading on Thursday saw Wirecard’s value drop by a further 76% once news of its insolvency broke.

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