According to the indictment, Wirecard booked billions of dollars in “third party” sales through its subsidiary Cardsystems Middle East in Dubai. These third party partners are companies that process payments on behalf of Wirecard. Prior to bankruptcy in the summer of 2020, the company admitted alleged bogus bookings worth €1.9 billion, and the funds are still missing today.
Key witness Bellenhaus wants full cooperation: “He will plead guilty,” Florian Eder, one of Bellenhaus’s defense attorneys, said before the trial began. In exchange, the defense attorneys hope for their client’s release from the sentence and a “very substantial reduction in sentence.”
Brown had already charged his former subordinate with criminal activities before the trial began. According to Brown, the missing billions since 2020 were there, but they were misappropriated with Bellenhouse’s involvement. “When attacks like this come, it’s just smokescreens,” Bellenhouse’s attorney said.
Without the alleged proceeds from the third-party business, Wirecard would have been incapacitated, said Prosecutor Matthias Boehring during a reading of the 89-page indictment. According to the indictment, the billions in loans were necessary to “prevent the company from collapsing.”
As a payment service provider, Wirecard processed electronic payments for a fee at the interface between credit card companies and banks as well as retailers and other sellers. The company has reported a rapid increase in sales for years and was listed on the DAX on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in 2018. Brown became a billionaire as the largest shareholder.
In the summer of 2020, the group folded and filed for bankruptcy. The Financial Times had previously tracked down the alleged manipulation after years of research. Brown dismissed any doubts about Wirecard’s balance sheets until very shortly before the crash. In the process, the former CEO will have to face probing questions about his role as a victim.
Wirecard’s investigation isn’t over yet, though the process has now begun. Another main character, former sales manager Jan Marsalek (Marsalek), is still on the run. It is believed that the Austrian hid in Moscow.
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