Thursday 6 August 2020 1:01 pm

Wirecard business partner reported dead in Philippines amid investigation

A German businessman responsible for one of Wirecard’s biggest sources of profit has been reported dead in the Philippines amid ongoing investigations into his involvement with the disgraced payments firm’s collapse in June.

Filipino authorities are seeking to confirm whether a recently registered death was that of former Wirecard executive Christopher Bauer, one of several people being investigated over the multi-billion euro fraud at the German payments firm.

Philippines Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra today said his office was trying to secure a certificate for the death of Bauer, which he said had been recorded in a civil registry in Manila last month.

Filipino authorities last month said they were investigating Bauer and his wife Belinda Bauer in a wide-scale probe into Wirecard and its affiliated businesses.

Wirecard filed for insolvency in June after auditors discovered that €1.9bn of stated profits reportedly held in in the Philippines were “missing”.

Bauer and his wife were the owners of Payeasy Solutions, a Philippines-based payments processor that was a key business partner for Wirecard.

Payeasy Solutions accounted for €291.4m of the German fintech’s reported revenue of €2bn in 2018 and more than a fifth of its operating profit. 

Bauer, who was a Wirecard employee before joining Payeasy Solutions 12 years ago, told auditors at KPMG that his company specialised in processing payments for “high-risk clients” in online gaming, gambling and porn.

Bauer is said to have met with Wirecard’s fugitive former chief operating officer Jan Marsalek in Manila as recently as March, according to the Financial Times.

Marsalek disappeared in late June after Wirecard’s €1.9bn accounting black hole came to light.

It comes as the German auditing regulator is reportedly examining EY in connection with its involvement with Wirecard.

A document from the Economic Ministry, seen by German newspaper Handelsblatt, stated that regulator Apas is examining all of EY’s audits of Wirecard from 2015.

Wirecard declined to comment.

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