Police raid Wirecard’s German HQ and four other properties
POLICE have raided Wirecard’s offices in Germany as investigations into the €1.9bn (£1.7bn) accounting scandal intensify.
Some 12 prosecutors and 33 police officers carried out searches and were supported by police IT experts, Munich authorities confirmed.
Police swept a total of five properties in Germany and Austria, including Wirecard’s headquarters near Munich.
Markus Braun, the former chief executive of the company that filed for insolvency last week, was arrested last week on suspicion of accounting fraud and market manipulation before being released on bail.
The whereabouts of Jan Marsalek, Wirecard’s former chief operating officer, is still unknown. He is wanted by German police but is yet to hand himself in. He is believed to have travelled to the Philippines, where authorities are also investigating the scandal.
Munich prosecutors have widened their investigations to include board members Alexander von Knoop and Susanne Steidl, a spokesman said.
It came as administrators in Germany stepped up efforts to find buyers for parts of the business in an effort to recover money for creditors of the stricken payments firm that failed to pay staff at the end of last week. Michael
Jaffé, an administrator appointed to the company on Tuesday night, said a sale process was under way, with bankers already involved after several investors expressed interest in buying slices of Wirecard’s business.
“A large number of investors from all over the world have contacted us, interested in acquiring either the core business or business units that are independent of it,” he said.
Administrators are racing to find buyers for Wirecard’s assets before key customers and employees leave the firm, which could dent their value.
Lloyds Bank sold a €120m tranche of a revolving credit facility it had advanced to Wirecard for about 17 cents in the euro, Reuters reported citing an unnamed source.
Advisers at Alvarez & Marsal are exploring options for Wirecard’s UK subsidiary, which resumed operations on Tuesday after the Financial Conduct Authority lifted a freeze on accounts that prevented customers of several fintech firms from accessing money.
Wirecard employees were linked to a network of British companies associated with alleged money laundering,
The Times reported.
Staff were involved at hundreds of shell companies connected to pornography, gambling and dating websites.
Wirecard declined to comment.