Following the KPMG special audit report that uncovered substantial issues with the company’s compliance procedures, the DAX-listed German FinTech Wirecard decided to reinforce its compliance. According to last Friday’s announcement, a Chief Compliance Officer will be installed as a board position. The 49-year-old American James Freis has been appointed to take on the role and will also join Wirecard’s board as of July 1, 2020.
Freis has quite an impressive track record. He been responsible for compliance at Deutsche Börse AG, Frankfurt, since 2014. Prior to this, he worked for the international law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Washington DC. Between 2007 and 2012, he was Director (CEO) of the United States Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), where he was a senior U.S. government official responsible for the regulation of financial institutions. Freis was also head of the U.S. Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which conducts investigations into the implementation of and compliance with laws.
The Chairman of Wirecard‘s Supervisory Board, Thomas Eichelmann, was pleased to have welcome “an internationally recognized compliance expert” with him.
In view of the many problems that Wirecard has had with KYC/AML/CTF in the past, the appointment of an experienced compliance officer is an important step in the right direction. The investors welcomed Freis almost enthusiastically. Following the announcement of Freis’ appointment on Friday after the close of trading, the share price rose in by more than 10% in the early trading hours on Monday.