Wirecard’s former chief executive Markus Braun has been rearrested in Munich as German prosecutors dug deeper into allegations of fraud at the fintech firm.
Two other executives — revealed by the Financial Times as Wirecard’s former finance boss, Burkhard Ley, and Stephan von Erffa, ex-head of accounting — were also arrested.
Former chief operating officer, Jan Marsalek, has likely escaped to Russia with the “clear help of Russian intelligence,” two officials told Business Insider.
Wirecard filed for insolvency a month ago soon after revealing an amount of 1.9 billion euros ($2 billion) was missing from its balance sheet, and likely never existed.
Former Wirecard CEO Markus Braun has been arrested for the second time as German prosecutors probed further into a fraud investigation surrounding the company’s reputedly inflated balance sheet.
Two other executives — named by the Financial Times as Wirecard’s former finance boss, Burkhard Ley, and Stephan von Erffa, ex-head of accounting — were also arrested.
The German fintech group, which was once an analyst darling, is suspected of falsifying income from third-parties since 2015. Wirecard filed for insolvency a month ago soon after revealing an amount of 1.9 billion euros ($2 billion) was missing from its balance sheet, and likely never existed.
Wirecard borrowed funds amounting to 3.2 billion euros ($3.7 billion) from banks and investors in both Germany and Japan over the past five years. Due to the group’s insolvency, the cash is likely lost, prosecutor Anna Leiding said, according to the FT.
The arrests of Braun and his former colleagues reportedly follow prosecutors bringing up German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s endorsement of Wirecard to Chinese officials back in September 2019, even though her top aides were aware of probes into its financial irregularities.
Oliver Bellenhaus, the head of Wirecard’s Dubai subsidiary, CardSystems Middle East, was arrested earlier this month as part of the investigation into the company.
Alongside Braun’s second arrest, mystery remains about the whereabouts of Jan Marsalek, the company’s one-time chief operating officer.
Two European law enforcement officials told Business Insider this week that Marsalek likely escaped to Russia last month as officials attempted to question him about the massive balance sheet hole.
He is said to have fled with the “clear help of Russian intelligence.”
Braun was first arrested at the time in relation to market manipulation and false accounting.
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