In anticipation of its collapse in June, Wirecard AG executives may have raided the German payment company and deposited $1 billion in partner companies while it fought allegations of accounting fraud, the Financial Times reported.
Sources familiar with the investigation and a document seen by the FT detailed that the alleged theft took the form of unsecured loans. At the time, Wirecard said the loans were used to pay its partners in Dubai, Singapore and the Philippines who processed card transactions.
The loans are the latest focus of German investigators against founder and former CEO Markus Braun and other senior ex-employees.
Wirecard, once valued at $28 billion, filed for insolvency in June after admitting that 1.9 billion euros ($2.1 billion) said to have been deposited in two Philippines banks did not exist.
Prosecutors arrested former Wirecard CEO Markus Braun and two other executives on suspicion of orchestrating a criminal enterprise to inflate revenue and balances to hide billions in losses. Braun has denied any wrongdoing.
FT reported that it appears about 155 million euros ($183 million) was paid out in the first quarter of 2020. Most of the money went to oCap Management, a Singapore-based financing provider that was operated by a former Wirecard executive.
The Singapore-based payments company Ruprecht Services received a loan of 40 million euros ($47 million) in Q1, raising its total debt to Wirecard to 53 million euros ($62.5 million), a source told FT.
The lending to the two Singapore entities meant that by March, Wirecard had loaned a total of 870 million euros ($1 billion) to business partners in Asia, according to a document seen by the FT.
Loans also went to Al Alam in Dubai, PayEasy in Manila and Senjo in Singapore.
Wirecard has said it used the three companies to process credit card payments in jurisdictions where it lacked licenses to operate.
These third-party businesses were managed by Jan Marsalek, Wirecard’s former chief operating officer. The 40-year-old Austrian is being sought by authorities.
Wirecard’s administrator, Braun’s attorney and Munich prosecutors declined to comment. Al Alam, oCap, PayEasy and Ruprecht did not respond to requests for comment.