Wirecard shares slump over missing €1.9bn

We’ve all been there.

I’ve lost countless wallets: on buses, on trains, on planes; you name it.

And although my sorrow was deep, it is hard to imagine what Wirecard CEO Markus Braun was feeling yesterday, as he watched his company’s share price tumble a staggering 61.28% to €39.90 per share.

For reference, Wirecard joined Germany’s blue-chip Dax 30 share index two years ago. At the time, it was valued at €24bn, but following the latest share price crash this has fallen to just €4bn.

This is all due to a missing €1.9bn.

The scandal came to light after a series of articles in the Financial Times last year focusing on alleged accounting irregularities in Wirecard’s Asian operations.

Wirecard said the missing money was supposed to be held in accounts at two Asian banks and had been set aside for “risk management”.

EY auditors, preparing last year’s financial statement, said the banks had been unable to provide the account numbers.

Wirecard said there were “indications that spurious balance confirmations had been provided” by a trustee “in order to deceive the auditor and create a wrong perception of the existence of such cash balances or the holding of the accounts” and “The Wirecard management board is working intensively together with the auditor towards a clarification of the situation.”

Today, Braun said in a video statement that:

‘At present it cannot be ruled out that Wirecard AG has become the aggrieved party in a case of fraud of considerable proportions.’

Stay tuned for more drama and grandiose visions from Braun, who had previously vowed to make ‘payments invisible’ and denied sanctioning a spying operation in London on Wirecard critics late last year, involving 28 private investigators and headed by a Libyan intelligence officer.

Felix Blumer is an ex-lawyer and now Consultant at Rutherford, the Legal and Compliance executive recruitment specialists.

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Email: felix@rutherfordsearch.com