German ministers face grilling over Wirecard collapse

Frankfurt am Main (AFP) – Germany’s finance and economy ministers will be grilled by lawmakers on Wednesday about the massive fraud scandal that brought down payments provider Wirecard, amid criticism that authorities failed to act on early warning signs.

Wirecard filed for insolvency last month after admitting that 1.9 billion euros ($2.2 billion) missing from its accounts did not exist.

Former CEO Markus Braun has been arrested on suspicion of falsifying accounts and market manipulation.

The Wirecard revelations have stunned Germany, drawing comparisons with the Enron accounting scandal in the United States almost two decades ago.

Germany’s parliamentary finance committee has asked Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Economy Minister Peter Altmaier to attend a closed door special hearing to shed light on the saga from 1400 GMT.

Questions are likely to focus on when exactly government officials and regulators learned of accounting irregularities at Wirecard, and if there were any

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British Accounting Firms Face New Setback as FRC Opens Probe

(Bloomberg) — Britain’s audit industry faces another dent to its reputation as the nation’s accounting watchdog ordered a probe into PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Ernst & Young and Oliver Clive & Co.’s work for defunct London Capital & Finance Plc.

The Financial Reporting Council said in a statement on Wednesday that its enforcement unit will look at the audits of now defunct mini-bond lender London Capital & Finance for the periods ending April 30, 2015, the year ending April 30, 2016 and for the year ending April 30, 2017.

London Capital & Finance issued mini-bonds, taking funds from about 14,000 customers that the company said it used to make loans to corporations for investment. It went into administration after the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority and Serious Fraud Office opened investigations.

The announcement comes at a difficult time for the accounting firms. The so-called Big Four, including PwC and Ernst & Young, have

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