Ex-Wirecard Executive Says Company’s Alleged Fraud Began Over 10 Years Ago

Ex-Wirecard Official Says Company’s Alleged Fraud Began Over 10 Years Ago

An ex-Wirecard executive informed prosecutors that the firm’s alleged fraud began over 10 years prior to its implosion, with some high-level managers starting to create a collection of overseas firms that were purportedly harnessed to divert millions, the Financial Times reported.

Oliver Bellenhaus told Munich prosecutors that he formed many shell companies headquartered in the British Virgin Islands and Hong Kong beginning in 2010, FT reported, citing unnamed sources.

The ex-executive operated a Wirecard unit at the center of the firm’s purported fraud from Dubai. He was taken into custody in July over suspicion of aggregated fraud and has stayed in custody as of that time, according to FT.

Bellenhaus said he made the shell companies at the behest of ex-Wirecard Chief Operating Officer Jan Marsalek, an individual who is presently on the most wanted list of Interpol, FT reported, citing unnamed sources.

Bellenhaus informed prosecutors that he, along with Marsalek, moved business funds from Wirecard and into bank accounts that had the name of shell companies, FT reported, citing unnamed sources.

Bellenhaus transferred millions of those funds to a private foundation for years following that time, FT reported, citing unnamed sources.

The news comes as Germany is aiming to shore up the leadership of its Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) and intends to bring leading experts on board to supervise regulations.

According to Deputy Finance Minister Joerg Kukies, BaFin is intending to build out a task force to probe any suspected accounting fraud aside from hiring leading professionals. In the past, BaFin depended on another watchdog for accounting probes.

“We want a stronger, proactive supervisor with more teeth,” Kukies said, as per Bloomberg.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said the next BaFin officials will have international knowledge and the capacity to “turn BaFin into a world-class supervisor.”

“We need to be able to compare ourselves with the very best,” the official said at a briefing, as per Bloomberg.