Former Wirecard boss files motion to suspend trial
Lawyers have called for the criminal trial of the former Wirecard boss Markus Braun to be suspended after prosecutors were accused of ignoring evidence.
Braun’s lead lawyer Alfred Dierlamm dismissed allegations of wrongdoing, deeming claims against his client as “absurd,” calling for prosecutors to re-examine key parts of the case.
Braun and two other Wirecard managers are facing charges including market manipulation and fraud, and could be sentenced for up to 15 years in prison.
The German payments processor collapsed into insolvency in June 2020 after it revealed €1.9bn (£1.5bn) in corporate cash, supposedly held in escrow accounts in Asia, was ‘missing’.
As reported by the Financial Times, the legal team for Wirecard top dog told a Munich court on Monday that law enforcement authorities “decided to artificially and against the facts stick to the old narrative”.
He argued that the outsourced operations in Asia did exist but were transferred off without Braun’s knowledge and that the chief exec backed the company’s viability until the very end.
Braun has consistently denied the charges made against him.
City A.M. approached Dierlamm for further comment.
The courts will decide on the motion to suspend the criminal trial against Braun in the coming weeks.
However, the high-profile scandal has undermined the reputation of Germany’s BaFin financial watchdog.
Following the controversy, Germany has set out plans to start a new country-wide financial crime authority with a view to strengthening the country’s responses to sanctions breaches and white-collar crime.
The plans will see Germany’s finance ministry combine the country’s more than 300 financial crime agencies into a new federal authority, in line with plans to “curb financial crime” in Europe’s largest economy.
“Germany must no longer have the reputation of a money laundering paradise,” Germany’s finance minister Christian Lindner said earlier this year when announcing the plans.
“We have the courage to make a big splash: With efficient and effective structures, we will ensure that honest merchants are protected from those who do not follow the rules.”