Balance sheet scandal: Wirecard chief financial officer blames fraud Ex-board member Marsalek – Santander takes over core business – insider trading by BaFin employees? | message
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The responsibility on the board of directors for the non-existent trust accounts abroad had only Marsalek, said von Knoop on Thursday in the parliamentary committee of inquiry into the billion-dollar balance sheet fraud. “At no time have I been informed, hinted or otherwise known about the criminal machinations of other people in Wirecard AG currently in question. I had no knowledge of them.”
Von Knoop has been with the company from the Munich area since 2005, on the management board of the bank subsidiary since 2014 and CFO of the Wirecard Group since the beginning of 2018. Marsalek, who was responsible for the operational business and is believed to be in Russia according to media reports, has repeatedly confirmed to him that behind the “substantial account balances there are valuable bank claims”. When it became known that this was not the case, he was “completely surprised and shocked,” said the 48-year-old from Knoop. “I never thought it was possible.” He never benefited economically from the fraud, and because of the scandal he no longer had any professional prospects.
Wirecard went bankrupt in June 2020 after air bookings worth billions became known. The public prosecutor’s office is investigating, among other things, falsification of accounts, fraud, market manipulation and money laundering. It is one of the biggest financial scandals of the post-war period.
Von Knoop only read a statement in the Bundestag and did not want to answer any questions. According to his own statements, he is cooperating with the public prosecutor’s office. According to members of the Bundestag, the public prosecutor’s office is running three preliminary investigations against him, in which he is also listed as a suspect.
Takeover of Wirecard’s core business by Santander completed
As announced, the major Spanish bank Santander took over the core business of the scandal group Wirecard, including 500 employees, with a slight delay. The deal has now been concluded, announced insolvency administrator Michael Jaffé on Thursday. Almost all jobs in the former Wirecard headquarters in Aschheim outside Munich are to be retained. “With the successful sale to Santander, we have achieved our goal of finding the best possible solution for employees and creditors,” said Jaffé. The lawyer originally announced that the takeover would be completed in 2020.
Santander is adopting Wirecard technology for processing credit card payments, the associated assets and a large part of the employees – but not Wirecard companies. This saves Santander both their debts and legal risks. The former Wirecard employees now work for Getnet, the Spaniards’ payment platform. According to reports, the purchase price is more than 100 million euros, but Jaffé and Santander had agreed not to disclose.
Payment service providers such as Getnet and formerly Wirecard process card payments in retail and on the Internet. You sit at the interface between banks and credit card companies on the one hand and the affiliated retailers on the other.
BaFin reports employees to alleged Wirecard insider trading
The financial supervisory authority Bafin reported an employee to the Stuttgart public prosecutor’s office on suspicion of insider trading in papers relating to the insolvent Wirecard AG. According to the supervisory authority, on June 17, 2020, the employee of the securities supervisory authority sold structured products with the underlying value Wirecard AG. These include certificates. A day later, the former DAX group had granted air bookings of 1.9 billion euros.
According to its own statements, the financial supervisory authority discovered the suspicion against the employee as part of a special audit that was still ongoing. The employee was immediately released. The Bafin announced on Thursday that disciplinary proceedings had been opened against him.
The supervisory authority examines private stock exchange transactions of their employees in which the Wirecard AG price played a role, for example buying or selling shares in the company. There are 510 stores with 85 employees.
In addition, Bafin employees were prohibited from speculative financial transactions, i.e. short-term trading in shares, for example. “We had a compliance system that corresponded to the legal requirements, but is no longer up to date and is therefore rightly being changed,” Bafin boss Felix Hufeld said in an interview.
The former Dax group Wirecard had admitted air bookings of 1.9 billion euros in June and subsequently filed for bankruptcy – according to investigations by the Munich public prosecutor’s office, it could total more than three billion euros. Because this remained undiscovered for years, the Bafin, among other things, has come under fire.
BERLIN / FRANKFURT (dpa / Reuters)
Image sources: Wirecard AG