Monday, August 3, 2020

Bafin boss only picked up the phone shortly before the Wirecard collapse

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Dhe top management of the highest German financial supervisory authority Bafin only made the Wirecard case a top priority shortly before the scandalous company collapsed and intervened in the crisis talks with the management of the Dax group. Bafin President Felix Hufeld made his own phone call to top managers from Wirecard in mid-June, a few days before the payment service provider’s bankruptcy application. Hufeld spoke with the newly installed CEO James Freis, as well as with Wirecard supervisory board head Thomas Eichelmann.

Marcus Theurer

Editor in the economy of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

This emerges from a response from the Federal Ministry of Finance to inquiries from the parliamentary groups of the Greens and the Left that the FAS has. Bafin Vice President Elisabeth Roegele and Bafin Director Raimund Röseler, who is responsible for banking supervision, have so far not had any direct talks with Wirecard’s board of directors and supervisory boards, even though the situation at the Dax Group has become increasingly acute over many months.

No comment from the Bafin

For weeks, the Bafin leadership has been accused of acting too hesitantly in the Wirecard balance sheet scandal. Now the political pressure on the financial supervisors continues to increase: “Given many indications, Mr. Hufeld should have made the Wirecard case a top priority much earlier,” criticizes the green finance politician Danyal Bayaz. The responsible Vice President Roegele was “completely submerged” in the Wirecard case.

Felix Hufeld, the President of Bafin, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority

While the Bafin Executive Board itself only recently intervened, there was already a conversation in autumn 2019 between the State Secretary for Finance and Bafin Board Member Jörg Kukies and the then Wirecard CEO Markus Braun – on November 5, Braun’s 50th birthday.

The Ministry of Finance did not state whether the allegations against Wirecard, which were already well known at the time, came up in its response, citing “secret protection interests”. This is also met with fierce criticism from parliamentarians: “The public has the right to know what Mr. Kukies had to say to CEO Markus Braun on his birthday so secretly,” says finance expert Fabio De Masi from the left. The Bafin did not want to comment on the subject on request.

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