Type of Claim: Investigating
Claim Period: To be determined
Defendants: Wirecard Ag
Governing Law: German law
Limitation: To be determined
On 30 January 2019, the Financial Times reported that a senior Wirecard executive was last year suspected of using forged and backdated contracts in a string of suspicious transactions.
The Financial Times had received documents, including an internal presentation, by a whistle-blower. According to the presentation, the transactions were ordered by Edo Kurniawan, who is responsible for Wirecard’s accounting in the Asia-Pacific region. Titled “Project Tiger Summary” and dated 7 May 2018, the presentation outlined potential violations of Singapore law, including “falsification of accounts” and “money laundering”.
On 1 February 2019, the Financial Times disclosed that an external law firm commissioned by Wirecard to investigate its Singapore office found evidence indicating “serious offences of forgery and/or falsification of accounts”.
On Monday 4 February 2019, Wirecard confirmed that an external law firm has been investigating alleged accounting manipulations by “a member of Wirecard’s finance team” in its Singapore operations since May 2018, with the probe still ongoing. Singapore police stated on Monday 4 February 2019 that they were looking into the matter after the reports.
Wirecard Ag’s share price fell from €167.40 at the close on 29 January 2019 to close at €108.50 on 1 February 2019, a market capitalisation drop of €7bn.
Subsequently there have been further disclosures from the Financial Times publishing documents it had received from a whistle-blower on 15 October 2019. Wirecard Ag continues to deny any wrong-doing.
On 21 October 2019 the Financial Times revealed that Wirecard Ag had appointed to review its accounting practices and on 6 November 2019 the Financial Times reported that the special audit will be wider than previously reported and will include examining the accusations made by some short sellers. The KPMG audit is expected to be completed by March 2020 and Wirecard Ag have stated the results of the audit will be made public.
On Tuesday 29 April 2020 KPMG, who had been hired to look into Wirecard’s third-party business following a series of allegations, issued a report stating they had been unable to verify revenues of €1 billion. On the news the stock dropped over 25.00%.
On Thursday 18 June 2020 shares in Wirecard plunged 70% after the German payments group said €1.9bn of cash was missing and that “spurious cash balances” might have been provided to its auditor by a third party. It also noted that conditions attached to its borrowing meant that if financial statements for 2019 were not published by Friday June 19 then €2bn of loans to the company “can be terminated”. The trades which closed at €104.50 on 17 June 2020 were trading on Thursday 18 June around €30.
23 June 2020: Munich prosecutors announced that Wirecard’s former chief executive Markus Braun has been arrested on suspicion of false accounting and market manipulation. The prosecutors are accusing Mr Braun of artificially inflating Wirecard’s balance sheet and the company’s revenue in an attempt to make the company look more attractive for investors and clients.
June 25, 2020 – The management board of Wirecard AG filed an application for the opening of insolvency proceedings for Wirecard AG with the Munich district court (Amtsgericht München) due to impending insolvency and over-indebtedness.
Stewarts will continue to monitor the situation, however at this stage it is unlikely that a claim on behalf of shareholders would be economically viable and it is likely that shares in Wirecard are worthless.
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