The long running accounting saga with Wirecard appears to have taken a turn for the worse as its auditors this morning announced it could not confirm the existence of €1.9 billion in cash, and that “spurious cash balances” may have been provided by a third party.
The German FinTech group says that there were indications a trustee of Wirecard bank accounts had attempted “to deceive the auditor and create a wrong perception of the existence of such cash balances”.
Shares in the group, which only two years ago was welcomed into the prestigious Dax 30 index after registering a market value of €24 billion, crashed after the announcement, valuing the company at €4 billion.
The company, which owns a Munich Bank, said it was “working intensively together with the auditor towards a clarification of the situation”. It noted that if financial statements for 2019 were not published by Friday June 19 then €2 billion of loans to the company “can be terminated”.
The result leaves in doubt the future of Markus Braun, the company’s chief executive and largest shareholder, who oversaw Wirecard’s expansion from a Munich suburb to all corners of the world.
Payments Cards & Mobile has previously reported that Wirecard staff appeared to have conspired to fraudulently inflate sales and profits at Wirecard subsidiaries in Dubai and Dublin and mislead EY, the group’s auditors. The company has also been forced to postponed the publication of its 2019 results three times since March.
On Friday Wirecard’s chief executive Markus Braun resigned with immediate effect as the payment group’s share price continued to collapse a day after it revealed that €1.9 billion of cash was missing. Mr Braun’s resignation follows the suspension on Thursday of Wirecard’s chief operating officer Jan Marsalek.
Wirecard said that the resignation of Mr Braun, who is also the fintech’s largest shareholder, happened “in mutual consent with the supervisory board”.
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