Business & Finance

German finance minister points to regulatory failures in Wirecard scandal

By Holger Hansen

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said lawmakers need to quickly determine how to tighten regulation in the wake of an accounting scandal at payments company Wirecard that has tarnished the reputation of Germany’s financial watchdog.

The Wirecard case “raises critical questions about supervision of the company, in particular with regards to accounting and balance sheet control,” Scholz told Reuters on Tuesday.

“It appears that neither auditors wigs singapore nor regulators were effective here,” he added.

The comments were an about-face from a brief statement he made on Monday, in which he said regulators had worked hard and done their job.

Wirecard had said on Monday that 1.9 billion euros ($2.15 billion) it had booked in its accounts likely never existed, a black hole that has led to the arrest of its chief executive and that threatens to engulf the company.

Scholz said that any

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German finance company Wirecard files for insolvency amid accounting scandal

German financial technology company Wirecard is filing for insolvency after an accounting scandal that led to the arrest of its former chief executive earlier this week.

The payment systems provider said it would make the filing at a district court in Munich “due to impending insolvency and over-indebtedness”.

It added in a brief statement that it is evaluating whether insolvency applications also have to be filed for its subsidiaries.

Markus Braun resigned as CEO on Friday after the company said that auditors could not find accounts containing 1.9 billion euros (£1.69 billion).

On Monday, Wirecard said it had concluded that the money probably does not exist, and Braun turned himself in to prosecutors hours later.

Markus Braun is under investigation (Matthias Schrader/AP)
Markus Braun is under investigation (Matthias Schrader/AP)

Braun was arrested on suspicion of market manipulation and inflating financial numbers, and later freed on bail

Adding to the damage to Germany’s corporate reputation was the reaction

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Wirecard’s former CEO Markus Braun arrested over finance scandal

Markus Braun, former CEO of Wirecard, stands accused of market manipulation. (Peter Kneffel/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Markus Braun, former CEO of Wirecard, stands accused of market manipulation. (Peter Kneffel/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Markus Braun, who resigned as chief executive of Wirecard (WDI.DE) last week, has been detained in Bavaria in connection with the balance-sheet scandal at the troubled German payments company.

The prosecutor’s office in Munich said Braun turned himself in on Monday evening and would appear before a judge today, who will decide on whether or not to keep him in custody.

Braun, an Austrian, is being accused of inflating Wirecard’s total assets and sales volume “through feigned income from business” in order to make the company more attractive to investors and customers.

Wirecard was plunged into crisis last week after auditors EY refused to sign off on the company’s 2019 accounts, saying they could not verify the existence of €1.9bn (£1.7bn, $2.1bn) Wirecard claimed to hold in trust accounts overseas.

Braun

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British Accounting Firms Face New Setback as FRC Opens Probe

(Bloomberg) — Britain’s audit industry faces another dent to its reputation as the nation’s accounting watchdog ordered a probe into PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Ernst & Young and Oliver Clive & Co.’s work for defunct London Capital & Finance Plc.

The Financial Reporting Council said in a statement on Wednesday that its enforcement unit will look at the audits of now defunct mini-bond lender London Capital & Finance for the periods ending April 30, 2015, the year ending April 30, 2016 and for the year ending April 30, 2017.

London Capital & Finance issued mini-bonds, taking funds from about 14,000 customers that the company said it used to make loans to corporations for investment. It went into administration after the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority and Serious Fraud Office opened investigations.

The announcement comes at a difficult time for the accounting firms. The so-called Big Four, including PwC and Ernst & Young, have

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EY and PwC face investigation over London Capital & Finance audits

PwC
PwC

Three auditors which signed off the books of collapsed savings firm London Capital & Finance (LCF) are being investigated by the accounting watchdog.

Big Four accountants EY and PwC and smaller rival Oliver Clive & Co will face questions from the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) over why no warning dachshund puppies for sale near me signs were spotted before LCF went bust last year, leaving 11,600 investors facing losses of up to £237m.

Administrators later found that customers’ money had been spent on a riding stables, a helicopter and what they termed “highly suspicious” property developments in the Cape Verde islands.

The three auditors signed off LCF’s accounts between 2015 and 2017.  EY and PwC oversaw a set of annual results in 2016 and 2017 respectively, while London-based Oliver Clive audited the company for a month in April 2015.

The investigations will be conducted by the FRC’s enforcement division,

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Germany to overhaul accounting regulation after Wirecard scandal

Markus Braun, former chief executive of Wirecard - Michael Daider /Reuters
Markus Braun, former chief executive of Wirecard – Michael Daider /Reuters

Germany’s accounting watchdog is set to be stripped of its powers in the wake of the Wirecard scandal. 

The government will end its contract with the Financial Reporting Enforcement Panel (FREP) as soon as Monday, according to reports.

The job of overseeing company accounts will be taken on by Bafin, Germany’s financial regulator. 

“We have reached an agreement with the Finance Ministry to terminate the contract,” a Justice Ministry official told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper

Germany has been rocked by the collapse of payments company Wirecard, which filed for insolvency last week after admitting that €1.9bn (£1.7bn)  of cash on its balance sheet probably didn’t exist

Markus Braun, chief executive of the Dax-listed company, resigned on June 19 and was then arrested on suspicion of accounting fraud and market manipulation. 

German authorities are facing questions over

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