"It was a blast," says Fraser Perring, a "massive fraud disclosure" on 101 pages.

Some said, the short seller recalls in a documentary of the manifesto of February 24, 2016, the word “fraud” was used too often.

"In retrospect, I would rather say that we used the word 'criminals' too seldom."

The document the short seller is talking about has gone down in the history of the greatest financial crime thriller in German history as the Zatarra Report - the scandal surrounding the Aschheim payment service provider Wirecard.

In Germany, the Zatarra report could have caused an outcry, in retrospect it should have triggered it - especially at the Bonn and Frankfurt BaFin, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority.

The authority is legally and technically subordinate to the Ministry of Finance, which at that time was headed by CDU politician Wolfgang Schäuble.


Much has already become known about the inglorious role of the supervisory authority in the Wirecard scandal.

The third investigative committee of the German Bundestag is currently trying to uncover the political entanglements behind this in this legislative period.

"A matter of trust - only for official use"

Further documents now provide an insight into the dubious work of the financial supervisory authority BaFin.

They emerge from a correspondence that is classified as a "matter of trust - only for official use".

This is the lowest level of secrecy, from which one may freely quote in meetings of the committee of inquiry - but they may not be published.

The letter is available to WELT, initially the "Financial Times" quoted from it.

The six-page correspondence makes it clear: In response to the Zatarra report, the financial supervisors discussed not a possible fraud by Wirecard, but also the “cultural background” of Wirecard short sellers.


In a letter from the agency to the Treasury Department, it was "noticeable" that most of those who bet against the now insolvent company were British and Israelis.

The corresponding letter was sent in May 2016, two and a half months after the Zatarra report was published and Wirecard had accused of criminal activities.

But the exchange reads anything but critical of Wirecard: The document highlights a "large number of conspicuous trading participants" who traded Wirecard shares "conspicuously profitable".

It goes on to say that it is conspicuous that the suspects (including natural persons and Anglo-American hedge funds) "appear to have a fairly uniform cultural background - mostly Israeli and British nationals".

But that is exactly what the authority seems to see as an indication that the investors may have conspired against Wirecard.

And so it goes on: "Therefore, it cannot be ruled out that it is a network-like structure."

Anti-Semitic stereotypes instead of Wirecard checks?

An insider ring run by the British and Israelis?

That sounds less like an investigative approach than a world conspiracy, and the fact that BaFin apparently focused on the background and nationality of Wirecard skeptics raises new questions about how to deal with allegations against the company.

The documents in which a BaFin statement on the Zatarra report is intensively coordinated comprise a total of 39 pages.


Noticeable: While possible balance sheet manipulation or the money laundering allegations are hardly considered, BaFin is researching in detail ways to prosecute the authors of the report for market manipulation.

And in doing so, the agency is clearly focusing explicitly on Anglo-American hedge funds and those "Israeli and British nationals".

Danyal Bayaz, Member of the Green Party, chairman of the committee of inquiry, is shocked by the correspondence.

“The BaFin statement shows a strong wagon-castle mentality.

Apparently there is also an aversion to Anglo-American capital market culture. "

Bayaz comments that market manipulation is explained by the cultural background of hedge fund employees.

"Here the financial supervisory authority has clearly exceeded its limits because it apparently took every means to adhere to its own thesis." BaFin should not be surprised "if it is confronted with the accusation of using anti-Semitic stereotypes here".

Authority calls formulations today "unhappy"

The BaFin, meanwhile, distances itself from the formulations today.

In response to a request from WELT, the supervisory authority said: “Cultural background or nationality have no relevance to investigations or reports by BaFin.

The chosen formulation was indeed unfortunate and easily misinterpreted, ”wrote a spokeswoman.

In fact, it meant "similarities that suggested interaction between the suspects".

References to this have come, among other things, from suspicious transaction reports from financial institutions to another European supervisory authority.

"The suspicious trading participants identified by the institutes were, for example, characterized by their geographical proximity, used similar e-mail addresses, used the same IT infrastructure, were of a similar age and had not previously traded in Wirecard."

Is it really all just an unfortunate phrase?

No, says FDP politician Florian Toncar, also chairman in the Wirecard investigation committee.

“Such a statement fits into the picture of BaFin, which was very absorbed in a conspiracy against Wirecard.

This attitude also had a national component.

To put it more sharply, one could say that a hostile attitude towards foreign investors was at play here. "

The BaFin suspected the epicenter of a conspiracy against Wirecard in London and quickly decided that Wirecard as a local company had to stand by its side.

"For years, information was selectively classified with the preliminary determination that Wirecard was in the role of victim." The new correspondence is now an example of this national classification - "here the German company, there the foreign attackers".

The fact that the evidence for this goes back to 2016 is "a strong piece," says Toncar.

"BaFin's job is not ethnology"


The correspondence also causes incomprehension among other representatives of the committee of inquiry.

Jens Zimmermann, chairman of the SPD parliamentary group in the investigation committee, announced to WELT that he would address the questionable statements in the committee.

Because the Zatarra report was deliberately published under a false name in order to make profits through short sales, the BaFin investigations were logical - but: “The written formulations seem to require explanation.

How BaFin came to this assessment in 2016 will be discussed in the committee of inquiry, ”says Zimmermann.

He gets support from his party and committee colleague Cansel Kiziltepe.

She criticized possible racism at the Bonn and Frankfurt authorities to WELT: “It seems strange to me that BaFin did not question the allegations in the room, but aimed at the cultural background of the shortsellers.

That has racist features and is a questionable approach. "

The left-wing MP Fabio De Masi uses the questionable statement to again demand personnel consequences in the Wirecard affair from WELT: "The financial supervisory authority was evidently all right to shield Wirecard."

Authority chief Felix Hufeld and Vice President Elisabeth Roegele should "pack their bags" - resign - asks De Masi: "The job of BaFin is not ethnology, but financial supervision."

Ex-Finance Minister Steinbrück lost money in the Wirecard scandal

Peer Steinbrück is also one of the victims of the Wirecard scandal.

The former Federal Minister of Finance privately invested in shares of the insolvent payment service provider.

He does not want to comment on the amount of his losses.

Source: WORLD / Laura Fritsch