Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Citizens’ movement Financial transition attacks Bafin

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Dhe head of the citizens’ movement Finanzwende, Gerhard Schick, is a well-networked former political spokesman for the Greens in Berlin. After the scandal surrounding the payment service provider Wirecard, but also before the collapse of the shipping container rental company P&R, Schick targeted the management of the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bafin).

On Thursday, the citizens’ movement he founded launched a signature campaign with the aim of fundamentally renewing the Bafin based in Bonn. Above all, Bafin President Felix Hufeld and the Vice President, Elisabeth Roegele, who is responsible for securities supervision, should go. So far, Bafin’s employer, Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, has refused to do so, also with the indication that Hufeld admitted the failure in the Wirecard case.

Nonetheless, the question arises as to whether expanding Bafin’s powers is really enough. In any case, according to Schick, not: “This authority needs a completely different way of looking at its work,” he said on Thursday. Too often they refer to their “supposed lack of responsibility”, but do not exhaust their possibilities. In addition, she must demand loudly if there are really gaps in the supervision in some cases.

In fact, the failures at Wirecard – the payment service provider lacks 1.9 billion euros on its balance sheet – or P&R – who rented a million containers that never existed – raise the question of whether the Bafin is overwhelmed in the fight against financial crime and investment fraud. The references to not being responsible for certain matters, such as Wirecard’s balance sheets, give the impression that the agency does its job according to regulations but never looks outside the box, which would often be necessary.

Other online gambling omissions

On Thursday, Finanzwende pointed out the Bafin’s omissions in illegal online gambling. According to the financial turning specialist Konrad Duffy, the annual turnover in illegal online gambling in Germany is up to a good 9 billion euros. Payment providers such as Wirecard, but also banks played an important role here, as they are the interface to the providers who are often based in Malta. The Bafin looks away from here, criticizes the turnaround in finance. It will make business easier for online casinos and money launders.

Financial turnaround expert Michael reaching iron, former head of department in the field of money laundering and payment transactions in the Federal Ministry of Finance, referred to the Sicilian Mafia, which holds many gaming licenses in Malta. The Bafin had to fulfill its regulatory and money laundering obligations in order to remedy this situation in the German banking industry. Because only through a strong appearance of financial supervision can illegal illegal gambling be put an end to, he said.

The German market for internet gambling is to be opened from mid-2021 and regulated uniformly. Online gambling is already permitted in Schleswig-Holstein.

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