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MUNICH (dpa-AFX) – In the scandal surrounding the payment service provider Wirecard, the Munich I public prosecutor discontinued the proceedings against two journalists from the “Financial Times” in London. The authority announced on Thursday that the two’s reports were basically correct and “at least from the point of view of the information available at the time, it was neither false nor misleading”.
The British newspaper had regularly reported discrepancies in the payment service provider’s balance sheets since 2015, thus triggering the discovery of the scandal. Because of the articles, the Wirecard AG share price crashed and lost almost half of its value in a few days. At the instigation of the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bafin), the public prosecutor’s office investigated the journalists. The suspicion was that the reporters might team up with punters to put pressure on the stock price.
“There were no indications that the accused themselves had deliberately disclosed the content and time of their reports to third parties and thus passed on inside information,” the public prosecutor said on Thursday. However, investigations will continue against possible so-called shortsellers. This includes those stock market speculators who may bet on expected price losses before the article was published in order to earn money. Because the investigations, so the prosecutor, indicated that perhaps previously unknown people knew about the appearance of the reports.
The Munich payment service provider Wirecard, which has since been thrown out of the Dax (DAX 30), admitted air bookings of 1.9 billion euros in June and subsequently filed for bankruptcy. The Munich Public Prosecutor’s Office assumes that the company has shown fictitious profits since 2015 and is investigating commercial gang fraud./vge/DP/jha