Germany‘s investigation into the shocking collapse of payment firm Wire Card peaked on Friday, with Chancellor Angela Merkel before the parliamentary committee of inquiry.
On Thursday, Merkel’s Finance Minister Olaf Scholz tried to shield the government from blame, saying “the responsibility for this large-scale fraud does not lie with the German government.”
Any suggestions that the government or regulatory authorities protected the Wire card were “absurd fairy tales,” he said.
Merkel had advocated for the Wire card during a visit to China in September 2019, but was unaware of any irregularities at the time, a spokesperson said.
The bank card, which had been listed on the German DAX Large Business Index, admitted in June 2020 that 1.9 billion euros ($ 2.3 billion) in assets probably did not exist.
This in turn led to a fall in the company’s stock, bankruptcy and the arrest of former executives.
More broadly, this raises doubts about the effectiveness of financial control authorities in Europe’s largest economy.
Questions also arose as to why EY, the Wire card auditor, failed to notice the financial irregularities. (dpa / NAN)
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