At first glance, the latest news in the Wirecard case is good. finally it comes to court. The dates for the first criminal trial in the fraud scandal, which fooled authorities and auditors, cost investors and banks billions of euros and seriously damaged Germany’s reputation as a business location, will soon be marked. Marcus Browne, the long-time CEO and face of the payment services provider, will take the reins. Next to him is Oliver Bellenhouse, a key figure and a key witness and, according to his own statement, one of the organizers of the fraud. And the former head of accounting of the group, Stefan E.
The dimensions are still hard to fathom two years after Wirecard’s bankruptcy, although the process will reveal only a fraction of what actually happened. 700 volumes of files, 42 terabytes of data, hundreds of people and companies from countless countries, investigations from Germany to Singapore condensed into 474 pages of indictment. They say it was all a big lie, Wirecard’s rise to investor darling, rapid growth. Impressive sales and profits. composed, decorated, invented by 2015 at the latest. €1.9 billion in trust accounts they say never existed. Trade gang fraud is over €3.1 billion. even VW’s emissions scandal can hardly keep up.
Because it is so important, and because the bankruptcy of Wirecard electrified the whole country, the trial in the first district court in Munich will be charged with expectations that the criminal trial cannot be satisfied. An interested public may finally want to know more about what really happened at Wirecard over the past two decades; Thousands of defrauded shareholders finally want answers to many questions that remain open despite an investigative committee and intense media coverage.
Criminal proceedings, however, are only aimed at soberly determining individual criminal responsibility in the sense of an indictment. This main court session should do that. There is plenty of room outside the courtroom for everything else. Despite all the evidence and the logic by which Marcus Brown can be considered a criminal, there should be no prejudice. He denies each of the charges and deserves a trial as fair and open as any other defendant.
Fortunately, this process generally occurs. This is thanks to persistent journalists and stock market professionals who did not panic and continued to put their finger in the wound until the fraud could no longer be denied and the fake corporation was caught.
The prosecution had early indications of criminal activity. But he didn’t really get going until the company was already in ruins
Here it is worth taking a second look at the news of the accepted indictment – a look back. Because the trial against Brown and the other two started too late. It stands on the cusp of a collective failure that should not even begin to repeat itself. financial regulator Baffin left Wirecard alone, told reporters without reason and talked his way out of regulatory dodgy boats after the group’s collapse. Auditors did the work of governing and allowed themselves to be led like naive children. The Public Prosecutor’s Office had early indications of criminal activity and, from early 2019 at the latest, abundant material pointing to widespread fraud. But he didn’t really get going until the company was already in ruins. The fact that former council member and prime suspect Jan Marsalek managed to escape and will not have to appear in a German court for the foreseeable future is a mistake made by the prosecutors that can no longer be cured.
For this very reason, while all eyes are on the process, investigators should not let up now. There are still many dark corners in the Wirecard causa: Marsalek’s whereabouts, secret service connections, mysterious accounts and suspicious payment streams, mailboxes and front companies, Wirecard as a suspected money-laundering facility to sell from Internet fraud, prohibited gambling and other illegal. businesses. Thoroughly illuminating all these angles is what prosecutors owe fraud victims and the public.