Investigators search Wirecard offices

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In the billionaire scandal at the payment service provider Wirecard, the public prosecutor’s office in Munich I searches the corporate headquarters in Aschheim near Munich and other properties. Among them is the home of ex-CEO Markus Braun in Vienna. The investigators suspect Braun, the ex-board member Jan Marsalek and other Wirecard managers of manipulating the stock exchange price. At least for Braun and Marsalek, it is also about the accusation of falsification of the balance sheet.

The new search at Wirecard had been expected for days. Lawyers involved in the case had anticipated that the Munich I public prosecutor’s office would strike again after a first search on June 5, to a far greater extent than then. At the time, it was all about the suspicion that the old Wirecard board, headed by Braun, misrepresented the upcoming results of a special audit in the spring. This maneuver was suspected to have stabilized the share price.

Now it is also about suspicion of falsifying the balance sheet on a large scale. Almost two weeks ago it turned out that Wirecard lacked almost two billion euros. This money, which was said to have been in bank accounts in the Philippines, was apparently never available. In contrast to the first search, which was carried out on a rather small scale, the new campaign is a large-scale raid.

Twelve prosecutors are on site and are supported by 33 police officers and other IT specialists from the Munich Police Headquarters. Officials are deployed in Austria, where searches are carried out by means of legal assistance. The aim of the large-scale campaign is to secure all the material that is still available, which could provide information about manipulations of all kinds at Wirecard.

The Wirecard criminal case is one of the largest economic scandals in recent German history. In recent years, Wirecard has moved up into the German stock index (Dax), in which the leading corporations in the country are gathered; from Adidas to Bayer, BMW, Daimler, Siemens and Telekom to Volkswagen. Wirecard is the first Dax group to open a balance hole of this size and lead to insolvency proceedings. On Monday, an insolvency administrator took over the business at Wirecard. More than 5000 jobs are at stake.

Markus Braun’s lawyer Alfred Dierlamm confirmed on request that his client’s domicile in Vienna would also be searched. Braun is Austrian and lives with his family in Vienna. Dierlamm said, “my client continues to cooperate with the authorities”. Braun is in Munich and will report to the police there today according to his requirements. The long-standing Wirecard boss was arrested last week on the basis of a warrant and released on bail of five million euros and other conditions. One of these requirements is that he has to report to a certain police station in Munich every Wednesday.

The other ex-CEO of Wirecard, against whom an arrest warrant was issued, Jan Marsalek, has made almost two billion euros abroad after the balance hole became known. Through his lawyer, he had first signaled that he wanted to come back and face up to the investigation, just like Braun. However, that was not the case. Marsalek is considered one of the main responsible for many dubious business at Wirecard. He and Braun had always rejected all allegations during their tenure with the payment service provider; including the suspicion that the balance sheets have been glossed over.

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The Wirecard headquarters in Aschheim near Munich.

Because of the balance sheet scandal at Wirecard, prosecutors are searching the headquarters near Munich and the house of ex-CEO Markus Braun in Vienna.

In the billionaire scandal at the payment service provider Wirecard, the public prosecutor’s office in Munich I searches the corporate headquarters in Aschheim near Munich and other properties. Among them is the home of ex-CEO Markus Braun in Vienna. The investigators suspect Braun, the ex-board member Jan Marsalek and other Wirecard managers of manipulating the stock exchange price. At least for Braun and Marsalek, it is also about the accusation of falsification of the balance sheet.

The new search at Wirecard had been expected for days. Lawyers involved in the case had anticipated that the Munich I public prosecutor’s office would strike again after a first search on June 5, to a far greater extent than then. At the time, it was all about the suspicion that the old Wirecard board, headed by Braun, misrepresented the upcoming results of a special audit in the spring. This maneuver was suspected to have stabilized the share price.

Now it is also about suspicion of falsifying the balance sheet on a large scale. Almost two weeks ago it turned out that Wirecard lacked almost two billion euros. This money, which was said to have been in bank accounts in the Philippines, was apparently never available. In contrast to the first search, which was carried out on a rather small scale, the new campaign is a large-scale raid.

Twelve prosecutors are on site and are supported by 33 police officers and other IT specialists from the Munich Police Headquarters. Officials are deployed in Austria, where searches are carried out by means of legal assistance. The aim of the large-scale campaign is to secure all the material that is still available, which could provide information about manipulations of all kinds at Wirecard.

The Wirecard criminal case is one of the largest economic scandals in recent German history. In recent years, Wirecard has moved up into the German stock index (Dax), in which the leading corporations in the country are gathered; from Adidas to Bayer, BMW, Daimler, Siemens and Telekom to Volkswagen. Wirecard is the first Dax group to open a balance hole of this size and lead to insolvency proceedings. On Monday, an insolvency administrator took over the business at Wirecard. More than 5000 jobs are at stake.

Markus Braun’s lawyer Alfred Dierlamm confirmed on request that his client’s domicile in Vienna would also be searched. Braun is Austrian and lives with his family in Vienna. Dierlamm said, “my client continues to cooperate with the authorities”. Braun is in Munich and will report to the police there today according to his requirements. The long-standing Wirecard boss was arrested last week on the basis of a warrant and released on bail of five million euros and other conditions. One of these requirements is that he has to report to a certain police station in Munich every Wednesday.

The other ex-CEO of Wirecard, against whom an arrest warrant was issued, Jan Marsalek, has made almost two billion euros abroad after the balance hole became known. Through his lawyer, he had first signaled that he wanted to come back and face up to the investigation, just like Braun. However, that was not the case. Marsalek is considered one of the main responsible for many dubious business at Wirecard. He and Braun had always rejected all allegations during their tenure with the payment service provider; including the suspicion that the balance sheets have been glossed over.

EY’s auditors suspect that Wirecard already invented huge sales in 2018. All attention is now directed to the ex-board member Jan Marsalek.

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