German watchdog chief calls Wirecard scandal a ‘massive criminal act’

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Wirecard AG, an independent provider of outsourcing and white label solutions for electronic payment transactions, is pictured at its headquarters in Aschheim, near Munich, Germany, July 1, 2020. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The head of Germany’s financial watchdog on Thursday called the accounting scandal at Wirecard “a massive criminal act”, while Deutsche Bank said it was considering support for the collapsed company’s banking unit.

“It is plain vanilla, old-fashioned criminal behaviour,” BaFin president Felix Hufeld said in an online panel discussion.

Wirecard filed for insolvency last week owing creditors almost $4 billion after disclosing a 1.9 billion euro ($2.1 billion) hole in its accounts that its auditor EY said was the result of a sophisticated global fraud.

Germany’s largest bank said it was working with BaFin and Wirecard’s insolvency administrator on the possible support for Wirecard Bank.

“We are in principle prepared to provide this support in the context of a continuation of business operations, if such assistance should become necessary,” Deutsche Bank said.

Reporting Hans Seidenstuecker and Tom Sims; editing by Thomas Seythal and Mark Potter

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