Canada Wirecard Committee: Merkel and Söder on the list of witnesses
KfW is targeted by investigators due to Wirecard credit
© Reuters / MICHAEL DALDER The headquarters of Wirecard AG, an independent provider of outsourcing and white label solutions for electronic payment transactions is seen in Aschheim Frankfurt (Reuters) - Eine 100 The million euro credit line from the state bank KfW for the collapsed payment processor Wirecard has called the prosecutors on the scene.
In the Bundestag, the political processing of the spectacular accounting scandal surrounding the former Dax group Wirecard has begun. The committee of inquiry into the case met for its first meeting on Thursday.
The nine MPs want to reveal, among other things, whether the supervisory authorities have touched the German fintech company as an up-and-coming stock market star despite indications of irregularities with kid gloves. The committee wants to question a number of prominent politicians as witnesses, including Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU).
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The AfD MP Kay Gottschalk was elected chairman of the committee. The personell was extremely controversial in advance, in the end five MPs voted for and four against him. Green MP Danyal Bayaz said he had personal reservations about Gottschalk. In the end, however, the person of the chairman is not decisive. The Union MP Matthias Hauer promised: "We will watch Mr. Gottschalk very closely that he is performing his office properly."
Gottschalk himself emphasized that he was interested in clarification and the correct consequences of the balance sheet fraud. "I will do my bit and prove that the AfD can also work." It is about regaining people's trust in Germany as a financial center.
This is exactly what the Wirecard case has shaken considerably in recent months. The now insolvent Dax group had granted air bookings of 1.9 billion euros in the summer. As a service provider for cashless payments at checkouts and on the Internet, the company sat at the interface between retailers and credit card companies - in a highly competitive market.
BaFin employees are no longer allowed to trade certain shares privately
- by Christian Krämer © Reuters / WOLFGANG RATTAY The logo of Germany's Federal Financial Supervisory Authority BaFin (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht) is pictured outside of an office building of the BaFin in Bonn Berlin (Reuters) - The financial supervisory authority BaFin, which was criticized after the Wirecard balance sheet scandal, bans its employees from certain private share transactions until further notice.
According to the current status of the investigation, Wirecard made losses for years. The Munich public prosecutor's office assumes that the company has shown fake profits since 2015. More than three billion euros could be lost. In the case, the financial supervisory authority Bafin and an auditing company are also criticized, which did not notice the fraud.
The committee wanted to discover whether Wirecard was spared or even protected, said the FDP MP Florian Toncar. "Whether you sided with this fraudulent company - even if it was involuntary because you simply misjudged the matter." On Thursday, the committee already passed 137 resolutions, requested documents and named the first witnesses to the political context.
The MPs not only want to interview Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) and some of his close colleagues, but also Economics Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) and even the Chancellor, who worked hard for Wirecard during a trip to China when there were already doubts about the Company gave. On the list of witnesses are the leadership of the financial supervisory authority Bafin and the imprisoned ex-Wirecard boss Markus Braun as well as the former Defense Minister Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg and Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Söder. The diverse list of witnesses shows how many levels the failure took place, said Bayaz.
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Markus Söder visited the former inner-German border near Weischlitz. The Prime Minister of Saxony Michael Kretschmer was also present. © dpa "I think that we shouldn't let the AfD and such political groups talk us about German unity", emphasized Söder in his speech. For Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU), is the German reunification 30 years ago is a historical gift.
The committee does not want to really start questioning witnesses until November. Merkel, Scholz and Altmaier are to be questioned even later, in the coming year towards the end of the committee period. However, the MPs do not have much time to clear up the complex case: the electoral term ends in just under a year.
In the end, it must be clear why the fraud was not recognized earlier, said Toncar. "And also a clear assignment of who could have acted, if not even had to." From this, conclusions would have to be drawn, for example in the form of legislative changes.
Finance Minister Scholz and Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) have already submitted a proposal for a reform of financial supervision - of all days, the day before the committee was constituted. However, the opposition accuses the Vice Chancellor and SPD candidate for chancellor of wanting to divert attention from his own failure as the highest chief of financial supervision. He is hiding behind auditors and alleged loopholes in the law.
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