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January 27, 2023

Wirecard Drama of the Day: At Least This Wasn’t EY’s Fault

According to a report cited by Bloomberg, a former Wirecard manager who was found dead in the Philippines last week died of blood poisoning in a Manila hospital.

Bloomberg wrote:

Authorities in the Philippines have yet to confirm that the man, Christopher Bauer, is the former Asian executive of the payments firm who is part of an ongoing investigation into fraud. The German newspaper [Bild am Sonntag] confirmed that it’s the same person after visiting the 44-year-old’s mother in the German town of Einhausen. She confirmed her son’s death and indicated that he passed away from natural causes.

His mother told the newspaper that her son had developed a boil and sought treatment at a Manila hospital, where he developed sepsis. He was in intensive care for several days before he died, the newspaper cited Anita Bauer as saying.

According to City A.M., authorities in the Philippines said they were investigating Bauer and his wife, Belinda Bauer, in a wide-scale probe into Wirecard and its affiliated businesses:

Wirecard filed for insolvency in June after auditors discovered that €1.9bn of stated profits reportedly held in in the Philippines were “missing”.

Bauer and his wife were the owners of Payeasy Solutions, a Philippines-based payments processor that was a key business partner for Wirecard.

Payeasy Solutions accounted for €291.4m of the German fintech’s reported revenue of €2bn in 2018 and more than a fifth of its operating profit.

Bauer, who was a Wirecard employee before joining Payeasy Solutions 12 years ago, told auditors at KPMG that his company specialised in processing payments for “high-risk clients” in online gaming, gambling and porn.

Bauer is said to have met with Wirecard’s fugitive former chief operating officer Jan Marsalek in Manila as recently as March, according to the Financial Times.

Meanwhile, in Singapore, FT reported:

A Singaporean businessman with multiple ties to Wirecard has been charged with falsification of accounts, marking the first set of charges issued by the city-state since it kicked off an investigation into the collapsed German payments company last year.

R Shanmugaratnam is suspected of being a key figure in an alleged multiyear fraud, accused of playing the role of trustee for fake bank accounts, which Wirecard told auditors were filled with cash.

Singapore police’s commercial affairs department last month charged Mr Shanmugaratnam with falsifying “wilfully and with intent to defraud” letters to Wirecard saying that his company, Citadelle Corporate Services, was holding hundreds of millions of euros in escrow accounts “when in fact [they] did not hold such balance”, according to charge sheets.

I reckon it won’t be long before more charges are filed against someone, somewhere connected to the Wirecard fraud.

Former Wirecard Manager Died of Blood Poisoning in Manila: Bild [Bloomberg]
Wirecard business partner reported dead in Philippines amid investigation [City A.M.]
Singapore charges Wirecard agent with falsification of accounts [Financial Times]

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