The federal government wants to prevent balance sheet fraud in the future

At the end of June, the Wirecard Group had to admit: there are not nearly two billion euros on the balance sheet. Politicians are now also concerned with the case, which is presenting an action plan.

As a consequence of the alleged fraud of billions at the Dax group Wirecard, capital and financial markets in Germany are to be controlled more closely. An action plan coordinated among the ministries involved provides, among other things, more powers for the financial supervisory authority BaFin so that balance sheet fraud can be combated more effectively. Several news outlets reported about this plan.

The state should keep an eye on complex international company structures more effectively. In addition, the auditors, who have given the green light for the balance sheets in the Wirecard case for years, are to be rotated after ten years. Until now, auditors such as EY and KPMG only had to put out new contracts every ten years; the upper limit for the duration of the audit is 20 years.

Billions could be lost

The now insolvent payment service provider Wirecard had granted air bookings of 1.9 billion euros in the summer. The Munich public prosecutor’s office assumes that Wirecard has shown fake profits since 2015. More than three billion euros could be lost.

The BaFin and the auditing company EY are criticized in the case. Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) had already presented an action plan at the end of July, which, however, had not yet been agreed in the federal government.

Financial supervision should get more rights

Among other things, BaFin is to have the right to review all capital market-oriented companies. So far, it has only been able to carry out special audits directly at financial institutions such as banks or insurance companies. So she only controlled Wirecard’s own bank.

According to the action plan, it should also be examined how information from whistleblowers can be used more in the future and incentives for whistleblowers improved. In addition, the criminal offense of money laundering is to be reformed this year.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (both SPD) want to present the action plan on Wednesday – one day before a committee of inquiry into the Wirecard case starts in the Bundestag.


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