Defendant Blames ‘Blind Loyalty’ to CEO in Wirecard Scandal Trial

Wirecard, trial, Oliver Bellenhaus, Germany, EMEA, fraud

A defendant and key witness in the Wirecard scandal trial has admitted guilt.

Oliver Bellenhaus, the former head of Wirecard’s Dubai office and one of three defendants in one of Germany’s most high-profile fraud trials ever, admitted guilt on Monday (Dec. 19) but painted former CEO Markus Braun as the mastermind behind the crimes.

These are the latest developments in the Wirecard trial, in which prosecutors have accused senior Wirecard executives of running a criminal racket and defrauding huge sums of money from the firm’s clients prior to its collapse in 2020.

In what has become an increasingly venomous display of finger pointing, last week Braun maintained that he was innocent and insisted that it was in fact Bellenhaus who was the main perpetrator of the fraud.

Braun’s legal argument consists of blaming Bellenhaus, who his lawyers have claimed carried out the criminal activity without Braun ever knowing.

As well as being a defendant in the trial, Bellenhaus is a key witness in the prosecution’s case against Braun, and his strategy has been to accept some responsibility but pin the majority of the blame on the boss.

Because of his confession, Bellenhaus’ lawyer argued on Monday that he should receive a lighter sentence.

In a 95-page statement reported on by Reuters, Bellenhaus described how accounts were faked and revenues fabricated. While he admitted a role in the wrongdoing, he said it was only out of “blind loyalty” to the CEO.

“Braun gave the marching orders and everyone followed,” he said.

As well as being the subject of claims by Braun, Bellenhaus’ credibility has also been attacked by a lawyer for the third defendant — Stephan von Erffa, who was Wirecard’s chief financial officer and who has previously admitted to forging documents while working for the company.

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