Wirecard’s woes deepen as €1.9bn goes ‘missing’

By Aisling Finn on Friday 19 June 2020

Digital Banking

Wirecard’s CEO said the company could be a victim “of fraud of considerable proportions.”

Wirecard’s woes deepen as €1.9bn goes ‘missing’
Image source: Markus Braun/Wirecard

UPDATE 19-06-2020 - Markus Braun, CEO of Wirecard, has resigned with immediate effect. Wirecard's board has appointed Dr James Freis, who became a member of the management board yesterday, as interim CEO.

German payment processor Wirecard has found itself edging even further into a state of disarray this week when its auditor refused to sign off its 2019 accounts over missing money.

According to reports, Wirecard is missing €1.9bn ( £1.7bn) from its 2019 accounts, equating to roughly a quarter of its balance sheet.

Wirecard has been subject to not one, but two, audits recently—it’s regular audit, which was carried out by long-time auditor EY, and the special audit that was carried out by KPMG earlier this year following accusations of fraud.

The troubled German fintech is also currently in the midst of an investigation by the German authorities over alleged market manipulation.

Following the news of the missing billions, CEO of Wirecard Markus Braun posted a video online to suggest the €1.9bn hole was caused by fraud.

“At present, it cannot be ruled out that Wirecard has become the aggrieved party in a case of fraud of considerable proportions," although Braun didn’t disclose any information about the supposed fraudsters.

After news broke about Wirecard’s missing cash, its shares plunged by over 60 per cent on the DAX on Thursday. 

Its shares are currently trading for only 23 cents, a drop of almost 45 per cent on yesterday.

The revelation also wiped €19bn of its valuation, with Wirecard currently being valued at just €5bn, down from the €24bn valuation it earned back in 2018.

Wirecard was also a founding member of the newly launched European Fintech Association, whose President Marc Roberts told AltFi that “good reputation” was one of the points of its membership.

When asked about Wirecard and whether they would be removed from the EFA Roberts told AltFi: “with regards to Wirecard they have been a founding member, have supported the EFA from the start.”

“I don’t think I’m in a position to comment any further.”

Despite the ongoing turmoil, Wirecard continues to collaborate with companies to help issue payment solutions.

Most recently, Wirecard partnered with fellow German company, Stocard, to help the all-your-loyalty-cards in one issue a virtual payment card to its 50m customers.

In April, UK-based fintech Curve dropped Wirecard and instead brought its e-money services in-house following news of Wirecard’s woes.

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