What went wrong at Wirecard

And how to stop it happening to you.

by Stephen Jones

A global network of suspected criminal wrongdoing, controversial characters and a mysterious, potentially fictitious, £1.7bn. Wirecard’s dramatic collapse from German fintech darling to insolvency has all the hallmarks of a contemporary crime thriller.  

The scandal that has been described as the “Enron of Germany” was long in the making and is at times hard to believe. The short version is that the German payment provider and former member of the DAX30 is suspected of grossly inflating its balance sheet.

In June 2020 auditor EY announced that €1.9bn held in Phillipine bank accounts probably did not exist after an ongoing FT investigation and subsequent KPMG report published in April found that Wirecard either intentionally overestimated or totally made up payments received by three third party companies in outsourced markets it didn’t have licences to operate within. 

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