Two former Wirecard executives have been sentenced to prison in Singapore.
James Wardhana, who was the international finance process manager of Wirecard Asia, and Chai Ai Lim, who was the head of finance at Wirecard Asia, were sentenced to 21 months and 10 months respectively for conspiring to misappropriate funds, the Financial Times (FT) reported Tuesday (June 20).
Both pleaded guilty in 2022, according to the report.
These are the first criminal convictions handed down in charges related to accounting frauds at Wirecard, the German payments group that collapsed in June 2020 after revealing that half of the annual revenue it had claimed did not exist, the report said.
Wardhana’s and Lim’s superior at Wirecard Asia, Edo Kurniawan, is at large, with a warrant for his arrest having been issued, per the report.
In addition, James Henry O’Sullivan, who controlled companies that did business with Wirecard and is charged with abetting the falsification of documents, is scheduled to go on trial in Singapore next month, according to the report.
In Germany, three Wirecard executives, including CEO Markus Braun, are on trial in a court battle that is expected to extend at least into 2024, the report said.
Wirecard’s former chief operating officer, Jan Marsalek, is also at large, per the report.
Wirecard was founded in 1999 and was valued at 24 billion euros at the height of its success.
The company filed for insolvency in June 2020, becoming the first member of Germany’s Frankfurt Stock Exchange to go out of business less than a week after auditors disclosed $2.1 billion of supposed deposits were missing from two Philippines banks.
Braun had resigned a week earlier and was arrested on charges of misrepresenting Wirecard’s accounts and market manipulation, with Munich prosecutors saying, “We will now look at all possible criminal offences.”
Braun was formally charged last year, along with Oliver Bellenhaus, a one-time managing director of a Wirecard subsidiary based in Dubai, and Stephan von Erffa, chief accountant and deputy chief financial officer.
On June 7, during court testimony in Braun’s fraud trial in Germany, a panel of judges heard that the ex-CEO told his general counsel that compliance was “crap” and unnecessary for the now-defunct payments company.