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wirecard AG insolvency

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Wirecard files for insolvency after a devastating scandal that saw $2 billion go missing and its ex-CEO get arrested

  • Wirecard, a once-valuable German fintech firm, filed for insolvency on Thursday as it battles a huge accounting scandal.
  • About €1.9 billion went missing from the company’s balance sheet according to auditors, and Wirecard later admitted the money may never have existed.
  • In a statement Thursday, Wirecard said it filed for insolvency proceedings in the Munich district court.
  • The news comes just days after its ex-chief executive was arrested in relation to alleged market manipulation and false accounting. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

German fintech group Wirecard AG has filed for insolvency days after its CEO Markus Braun resigned and was arrested in relation to alleged market manipulation and false accounting. 

German finance tech company Wirecard AG has filed for insolvency days following the resignation and arrest of its chief executive officer Markus Braun in connection with the missing $2 billion in its accounts.

In a media release Thursday, the credit card operator disclosed it had lodged an application to open insolvency proceedings in the Munich district court due to imminent insolvency and over-indebtedness. Wirecard became Germany’s first member of the premier blue-chip DAX index to collapse.

Wirecard nosedived Thursday owing nearly $4 billion to lenders after exposing a gaping crack in their accounts that its auditor EY claimed was the result of a sophisticated multinational scam.

In its insolvency filing, the payments group said that, with 1.3 billion euros (1.5 billion dollars) of loans due in the next few days, its survival as a continuing concern was not assured. 

The implosion of Wirecard came just seven days after EY, the auditor for over 10 years, declined to sign off on the accounts for 2019, pushing Braun out and causing him to admit that $2.1 billion of his cash actually did not exist.

The unexpected crash of Wirecard is an “unparalleled scandal”, Germany’s finance minister on Thursday said. Finance Minister Olaf Scholz stated the debacle “must be a wake-up call that we need more oversight, more controls” over such financial firms, RTL Today reported, citing an AFP story. “The scandal is unparalleled in the financial world,” Scholz added.

Braun, the Austrian tech executive who established Wirecard into one of Germany’s most successful firms, was arrested by German authorities earlier this week on allegations that the company’s balance sheet and profits had been falsely inflated through fraudulent transactions. Investigators said Braun may have worked alongside other suspects.

Released from custody on bail of €5 million ($5.7 million), Braun has suggested that the company may itself be actually the victim of fraud. His legal counsel has not responded to requests for comment. Jan Marsalek, member of the board and Wirecard chief operating officer, was terminated on Monday.

Wirecard, which processes tens of billions of euros in debit and credit transactions each year, disclosed that it failed to reach an agreement with its creditors that could help the group survive after a chaotic week. In the absence of a deal with the lenders,

Wirecard said there’s a possibility of termination of loans amounting to €800 million June 30 and €500 million on July 1. Founded in 1999, Wirecard employs around workers across its 26 locations and has over 313,000 clients, according to its website.

It is the first member of Germany’s prestigious blue-chip DAX index to fail. 

The payments processor said in a press release Thursday that it had filed an application to open insolvency proceedings in the Munich district court “due to impending insolvency and over-indebtedness.”

It also said the company was evaluating whether insolvency applications have to be filed for its subsidiaries.

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The company’s shares were suspended from trading before it announced insolvency proceedings.

Ordinarily, a company files for insolvency when it fails to meet its financial obligations to lenders when debt payments are due.

In Germany, an insolvency administrator has the option to continue the business as long as there is hope to find an investor that will acquire it.

Wirecard’s shares have fallen about 90% after it admitted €1.9 billion had gone missing from its balance sheet. Later the company claimed the money may have never actually existed.

Read more: Morgan Stanley handpicks 10 stocks to buy now for the richest profits as travel and outdoor activities transform in the post-pandemic world

Screenshot 2020 06 25 at 10.31.42Markets Insider

While the ex-CEO’s bail was set at €5 million, he is still being investigated by German police. The Munich prosecutor’s office has said “we will now look at all possible criminal offences,

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