Posted on: December 20, 2022, 11:45h.
Final up to date on: December 20, 2022, 01:12h.
The previous head of Wirecard’s Dubai subsidiary admitted his complicity Monday within the widescale accounting fraud that led to the spectacular collapse of the German fintech large. On the similar time, he pointed the finger at his codefendant, ex-CEO Markus Braun.
Oliver Bellenhaus middle, with masks, pinned the blame on ex-CEO Markus Braun, foreground proper, blurred, for the fraudulent actions that led to the collapse of Wirecard. (Picture: Handelsblatt)
Oliver Bellenhaus informed a Munich courtroom that Braun was an “autocratic chief government” who was obsessive about creating the phantasm that Wirecard was extra profitable than it actually was.
The allegations have been made within the ongoing trial of three former Wirecard executives, whom German prosecutors accuse of committing a “huge legal act” that led to the demise of the funds firm.
Wirecard started life within the Nineteen Nineties as a processor of on-line playing and porn transactions. It grew into the main mild of German fintech, with a market cap of €22 billion ($25 billion) in 2018. However all was not because it appeared.
In June 2020, auditor Ernst & Younger reported that €1.9 billion (US$2 billion) in money balances talked about in Wirecards’ accounts gave the impression to be lacking. This cash was alleged to be sitting in trustee accounts at two Philippine banks. However the banks denied Wirecard was a shopper.
Days later, the corporate admitted the cash was lacking and “possible by no means existed.”
The defendants within the case face fees together with fraud, embezzlement, and market manipulation, and could possibly be jailed for as much as 15 years if convicted. They’re accused of cooking the books to artificially inflate the corporate’s worth and defraud traders and lenders.
Bellenhaus informed the court docket he deeply regrets his conduct, including that he acted out of blind loyalty to Braun.
“Braun gave the marching orders and everybody adopted,” he mentioned.
Final week, Braun’s lawyer, Alfred Dierlamm, described Bellenhaus as an unreliable witness and accused him of being the primary perpetrator of the fraud, together with Jan Marsalek, who’s at the moment a fugitive.
Dierlamm mentioned his shopper was unaware of the accounting irregularities, including that Bellenhaus and Marsalek have been operating a “shadow operation” that siphoned off cash into shell accounts.
Dierlamm additionally famous his shopper was the corporate’s greatest shareholder and had by no means bought his shares – in truth, he had elevated his holding shortly earlier than the corporate’s collapse. This demonstrated he had not tried to revenue personally from the inflated share worth and appeared oblivious to impending disaster.
Dierlamm contends that German prosecutors have been below stress to discover a scapegoat for the fraud as a result of Marsalek has slipped by means of their grasp.
Marsalek fled Germany as Wirecard collapsed, touring to Belarus after which onto Moscow. He’s believed to have connections to Russian intelligence businesses.