Ghosts from the past are coming back to haunt Wirecard. For those who do not know, the German group is a pioneer among the European players who shaked banking monopolies at the beginning of the millennium. It is behind the technology that enables online transactions to be carried out at several known sites, but its range of services goes far beyond that, from fraud management to contactless transactions and the issuance of payment instruments.
For several years, the company had to face a persistent rumor about the quality of his accounts. Lately, the Financial Times is bringing this topic at the forefront of news. A first round was fired earlier this month, with the revelation of an internal investigation into the accounting practices of a senior executive in Asia. An investigation that has allegedly not found nothing, which is what led a source to talk to the Financial Times.
After the first report, the company lost 13 % on the session, despite its denials. On February fourth, the FT came for Wirecard again with a new damming piece. The newspaper claims that an external audit commissioned by Wirecard from the law firm Rajah & Tann concluded that forgeries or even accounting falsifications had been carried out from the Singapore office. The report allegedly has been presented to the Executive Committee as early as last May. Balance sheet, -25%.
Wirecard confirmed that an employee had suspected an officer, but that no evidence could support the charges. The management has indeed called on Rajah & Tann to provide an external view, but the final conclusions are not yet available, and no meeting on the subject has been held to the date cited in the publication. The auditors have not reported, at this stage, any evidence of wrongdoing. The Munich Public Prosecutor's Office has indicated that an investigation is under way but that there is no evidence at this stage to incriminate the company.
The firm flatly denied findings in todays report: "nothing about the article published today is true", it said. Wirecard maintains that Rajah & Tann has yet to make any conclusive finding of criminal misconduct. However, this did not stop the drop in the companys shares, which tumbled a further 12% in todays session.