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EU authority accuses German supervision

D.he European stock exchange and securities regulator Esma has accused the German authorities and Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) of deficits in the Wirecard scandal. In its report presented on Tuesday, the EU authority pointed to a number of shortcomings, failures and inefficient processes in dealing with the balance sheet fraud of the payment service provider Wirecard. For the German financial supervisory authority Bafin there was “an increased risk of influence by the Ministry of Finance”. The Esma refers here to the many reports the Bafin made to the Ministry, in some cases before the authority took action.

Scholz said the improvements proposed by Esma are, by and large, what the federal government is planning on reforms in financial oversight. “So I don’t see it as something critical.” The Bafin countered the allegations in the Esma report. She rejected the criticism of having turned the prosecutor on too late.

The Bafin had commissioned the German Audit Office for Accounting (DPR) to review Wirecard balance sheets. No results were available until the Dax group collapsed. Esma criticized the fact that the Bafin was not in a position to fundamentally assess the work of the DPR and to decide whether it should attract the investigation. The exchange of information between the Bafin, the FREP and others was hindered by confidentiality obligations. Various teams within the Bafin would not have coordinated sufficiently either. Transactions by Bafin employees with Wirecard shares raise doubts at Esma about Bafin’s precautions against conflicts of interest.

Did Wirecard enjoy political protection?

For Florian Toncar (FDP), Wirecard has now finally become the Scholz case. The protective claim that nothing could have been done during a FREP audit collapses, because it has now been proven that the ministry was involved in a massive way. “This also confirms the suspicion that Wirecard enjoyed political protection,” said Toncar. There was also criticism from the Union. “The Federal Minister of Finance shares responsibility for the disaster,” tweeted the CSU MEP Markus Ferber.

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