Former Wirecard CEO Freed On Bail In Missing Billions Case

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Former Wirecard (WDIG.DE) CEO Markus Braun, who was arrested on suspicion of falsifying the German payments firm’s accounts, has been released from custody, his lawyer told Reuters on Wednesday.

Braun walked free one day after turning himself in on Monday evening, lawyer Alfred Dierlamm said, after posting bail set by a Munich court at 5 million euros ($5.65 million).

Although a warrant against the 50-year-old Austrian has been lifted, he remains under investigation by Munich prosecutors who suspect him of misrepresenting Wirecard’s accounts and falsifying income.

Dierlamm said he and Braun were not commenting on the prosecutor’s accusations.

On Braun’s 18-year watch, Wirecard grew into a $28 billion fintech that won a spot in 2018 in Germany’s DAX blue-chip index, only for its growth story to fall apart last Thursday after auditor EY refused to sign off on its 2019 accounts.

Braun, who in an overnight video message said Wirecard had been the victim of fraud, quit the next day. The company has since admitted that $2.1 billion it declared on trustee accounts at two banks in the Philippines probably did not exist.

Sources said prosecutors were also considering whether to issue an international warrant for former chief operating officer Jan Marsalek, who was fired on Monday and, according to the Sueddeutsche newspaper, is currently the Philippines.

Marsalek, who is also Austrian, was responsible for Wirecard’s business in Asia that is at the centre of suspicions the group inflated its assets and revenue. His lawyer could not be reached for comment and local police said they had received no information.

The Philippines do not have an extradition treaty with Germany.

— Reuters

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