The law firm Tilp has extended its claim for damages against Wirecard to the auditor Ernst & Young (EY) and former board members of the collapsed payment processor. In addition to EY, which has checked Wirecard's balance sheets for years, the lawyers are suing ex-Wirecard boss Markus Braun, the former board member Jan Marsalek and the current head of finance, Alexander von Knoop. "We are convinced of the new defendant's intentional behavior, at least to a limited extent," said lawyer Andreas Tilp.
Tilp had filed a lawsuit against the group from Aschheim near Munich in mid-May, long before Wirecard's bankruptcy, filed a lawsuit against the group from Aschheim near Munich - a kind of class action. More than 30,000 investors have already turned to the Tübingen law firm, which is also taking legal action against Volkswagen due to the diesel scandal.
Wirecard had admitted that the balance sheet was missing 1.9 billion euros and filed for bankruptcy a few days later. The auditors are accused of not having drawn attention to this earlier - the company has been checking the Wirecard balance sheets for many years. The group faces insolvency.
The US subsidiary Wirecard North America is meanwhile on sale. An investment bank coordinates this, the company said. It sees itself independently of the headquarters in Germany. Wirecard had only entered the US market in 2016 with the acquisition of a prepaid credit card company from the bad bank of the US bank Citigroup.
The question of how this could have come about is now being discussed. The federal government and the stock exchange are already examining the regulations. State Secretary Jörg Kukies suggested tighter controls on balance sheets. The regulation of balance sheet control in Germany is "extremely lax" in a European comparison, said the SPD politician. In cases like Wirecard, "In principle, you need authority-like skills for the supervisors. Otherwise it won't work." One now had to discuss objectively who should be given additional authority.
One should not now pass the buck on the German Audit Office (DPR), because it, too, should not really dig deep, Kukies said. BaFin boss Felix Hufeld defended himself against the accusation of incomplete financial supervision and said that because of the legal situation, he was not allowed to intervene in the Wirecard balance sheet audit, but relied on the DPR.
Contrary to what BaFin wanted, the European Central Bank did not classify Wirecard as a financial holding company, he said, according to participants in a BaFin board meeting. Without such a classification, the financial supervisory authority has comparatively few control rights.