MUNICH: German state prosecutors have launched an investigation against individuals at insolvent financial services provider Wirecard for suspected money laundering.
Investigators are also probing the payment processor into alleged fraud, balance falsification and market manipulation at the collapsed firm. The company’s offices in Dublin had been raided by police at the request of German authorities.
The implosion of the $28 billion giant has caused major embarrassment in Germany, with industry experts and politicians criticising the authorities for their hands-off approach and a number of missed opportunities to spot problems.
Wirecard filed for insolvency last month owing creditors almost $4 billion after disclosing a 1.9 billion euro ($2.1 billion) hole in its accounts that auditor EY said was the result of a sophisticated global fraud.
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“We are investigating suspected money laundering,” a spokeswoman for the Munich prosecutor’s office told a news agency. She said the inquiry was directed at individuals at Wirecard after a number of criminal complaints. She did not name the individuals, nor said how many were being probed or identify the complainants.
Irish police said in a statement they began a search at a financial services provider in Dublin to obtain evidence concerning alleged fraud at the institution and its subsidiaries on the request of German authorities.
Wirecard started out handling payments for gambling before expanding to process payments for companies including Visa and Mastercard. Some of the world’s biggest investors held its shares before a whistleblower said it owed its success to a web of sham transactions.