Tue, Feb 05, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Singapore police looking into Wirecard

Bloomberg

People walk past the Wirecard booth at the Gamescom computer games fair in Cologne, Germany, on Aug. 22 last year.

Photo: Reuters

Singaporean police are examining matters related to Wirecard AG, the German digital payments company whose shares have crashed amid allegations of executive forgery and fraud involving its Singapore office.

The police “are looking into the matter,” a spokeswoman for the force said yesterday in an brief e-mailed reply to questions from Bloomberg News.

Separately, the Singapore law firm Rajah & Tann LLP, one of Wirecard’s legal advisers, said it is unable to comment about the company because of “sensitivities.”

Wirecard shares plunged more than 30 percent last week after the Financial Times reported that a senior company executive in Singapore was suspected of using forged contracts for several suspicious transactions.

On Friday, the FT cited a report from Rajah & Tann which it said had identified potential civil and criminal violations in Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia and Germany, findings that it said had formed the basis of a presentation to Wirecard’s senior management on May 8 last year.

Wirecard has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, calling the stories “inaccurate, misleading and defamatory.” Wirecard said no presentation was made to its senior management on the matter that day.

“Regrettably, we cannot respond to your queries at the moment due to sensitivities,” an external spokesperson for the Singaporean law firm said over the weekend, in response to queries from Bloomberg.

In Germany, financial regulator BaFin is looking at the issue for signs of possible market manipulation and Munich prosecutors are also reviewing the facts to decide whether to open a probe.

The digital payments company — which supplanted 149-year-old Commerzbank AG in Germany’s benchmark DAX index last year — operates in the tangled world of online payments. Founded in 1999, Wirecard initially provided financial services to online gambling and adult Web sites, barely surviving the dot-com bust. It is now threatening traditional financial services and until recently was worth more than Deutsche Bank AG, Germany’s largest lender.

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