Wirecard Trial Day #1: Prosecutor Reads Indictment And Paints A Criminal Organization!

Wirecard trial launched in Munich
Spread financial intelligence

The trial started with a delay of about 45 minutes because the entrance checks for the visitors took longer than planned. The reading of the 474-pages indictment takes about 5 hours. The prosecutors allege that tens of thousands of shareholders have lost more than €20 billion. Banks and other creditors were left with more than €3 billion. The former CEO Markus Braun, who at some point before 2015 would have formed a criminal organization out of Wirecard, is said to be primarily responsible.

The Crown Witness Issue

Crown witness Oliver Bellenhaus

Oliver Bellenhaus has been in pre-trial custody since his arrest in 2020. He is the crown witness and cooperates with the prosecutors. However, he doesn’t seem to be happy with this cooperation. Before the trial started, his lawyers filed a motion asking the court to offer their client a perspective, such as a suspension of pre-trial detention during the trial. Otherwise, Bellenhaus would have to reconsider his willingness to cooperate with the public prosecutor’s office. The presiding judge rejected the motion and said that Bellenhaus’ statements would have to be clarified during the trial. The public prosecutor’s office had assessed the demand as extortion.

The Main Defendant

Former Wirecard CEO Markus Braund stands trial in Munich

Like Bellenhau, the 53-year-old former CEO Markus Braun has been in custody since his arrest in 2020The Austrian Markus Braun sits down between his defenders. As before, he has chosen the Steven Jobs style; he is wearing rimless glasses, a dark turtleneck sweater, and a dark jacket. He answers the court’s questions loudly and confidently. He sits up straight and looks very concentrated.

The Criminal Organization

In the indictment reading, the prosecutor alleges that at an “unspecified time before 2015,” the defendants would have formed a racket. Their goal was to “inflate the balance sheet total and the sales volume of Wirecard AG at Group level by faking revenues and profits from transactions with so-called third-party acquirers (third-party partners) to make the company more financially strong and more attractive to investors and customers.

The indictment further reads: “With this agreement, the gang members laid the foundation for the criminal acts of misrepresentation, market manipulation, commercial gang fraud and breach of trust that were conceived, planned and executed in subsequent years, at any rate between the end of 2015 and the middle of 2020.

The indictment portrays Wirecard as a high-risk processor that processed payments for porn and gambling providers. However, this business would allegedly have been outsourced to third-party partners. However, according to the indictment, the business with these “Third Party Acquirers” (TPA) never existed. At this point, the indictment seems inconclusive. Did the business exist or not?

More Suspects

The public prosecutor’s office is currently investigating almost 20 other people who are alleged to have been part of the criminal organization. Among them, of course, Jan Marsalek, but also the long-time Wirecard CFO Burkhard Ley and his successor Alexander von Knoop.

The Trial Procedures

Evidence-taking will be extensive and difficult: 100 trial days have been scheduled. The verdict is not expected before 2024.

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