Security & Fraud

Police Raid Wirecard’s Offices In Two Countries

Police Raid Wirecard’s Offices In Two Countries

A team of investigators raided Wirecard AG’s offices in two countries as part of the probe into the 1.9 billion euros ($2.1 billion) that went missing from the payments company’s accounts, Bloomberg News reported.

According to the report, a dozen Munich prosecutors and 33 police officers searched the company’s headquarters in Aschheim, Germany and two offices in Austria.

Wirecard’s former CEO Markus Braun was arrested last week and authorities are seeking to arrest the firm’s fired chief operating officer Jan Marsalek. They face charges of forging accounts and market manipulation. Braun, 51, turned himself in and was released on bail. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Wirecard has filed for insolvency protection from creditors, which are owed nearly $4 billion, the report said. Earlier this week, the Munich court appointed Michael Jaffe as the company’s insolvency administrator. He said potential buyers have already expressed interest in acquiring parts of the insolvent German company.

“A large number of investors from all over the world have already contacted us, who are interested in acquiring the core business or the independent business units that operate successfully on the market,” Jaffe said in a statement.

Jaffe, an expert who specializes in complex insolvencies, is expected to ask investment banks to oversee the potential sale of some of Wirecard’s units, the Financial Times reported.

In a statement released following the first meeting of a committee of creditors, Jaffe said the panel’s objective is to stabilize Wirecard and keep its subsidiaries operating, the Times reported.

The company will carry out a structured transaction process involving investment banks specialized in various areas. An analysis of the causes of the crisis and verification of payment flows is also taking place, per the report.

Last week, Wirecard became the first member of Germany’s DAX index to file for insolvency. DAX is the country’s primary stock index, listing the 30 largest companies that trade on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

“Wirecard has very few physical assets, and the risk is that many of its clients will switch to rivals soon,” a source told the Times.

James Freis, Wirecard’s new CEO, has urged employees, many of whom have gone without a paycheck for a month, to keep working, the Times reported.

“Regarding the range of good products and services that serve good customers and partners … we as a team need to work together to keep moving forward in an orderly way,” Freis wrote in an email to staff last weekend obtained by the Financial Times.

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