EU Watchdog Slams Germany for Lapses in Wirecard Fraud | Investing News

By Huw Jones and John O’Donnell

LONDON/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany failed to do enough to avert the Wirecard fraud, the European Union’s markets watchdog said on Tuesday as it delivered a highly critical verdict on the country’s handling of its biggest post-war corporate scam.

Wirecard’s former Chief Executive Markus Braun and other executives have been held on suspicion of running a criminal racket that defrauded creditors of 3.2 billion euros ($3.73 billion).

Those accused, including Braun, deny any wrongdoing.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) began a fast-track review in July into how Germany’s markets regulator BaFin and the country’s accounting watchdog the Financial Reporting Enforcement Panel (FREP) enforced EU transparency rules governing company information for markets and investors.

ESMA said in a rare 190-page rebuke of another regulator that it found a number of deficiencies, inefficiencies and legal and procedural impediments relating to BaFin’s independence from issuers and

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Wirecard Exposes Big 4 Accounting Lapses Endure Post-Enron

(Bloomberg) — Two decades of financial disasters from Enron Inc.’s collapse in 2001 to Wirecard AG’s meltdown have left the Big Four accounting firms facing a major cultural problem that regulators may struggle to resolve.

The 1.9 billion euros ($2.1 billion) missing from Wirecard’s balance sheet brought the chief executive officer’s arrest, the German payments firm’s insolvency filing and a lot of finger-pointing. Some have blamed German regulator BaFin for its oversight failures. Wirecard’s auditor, Ernst & Young, called it an “elaborate” fraud that even a very rigorous probe may not have discovered.

But EY is also on the hot seat. It was added to a class-action style lawsuit against Wirecard on Tuesday, and stands accused of failing in its most fundamental duty. It’s a systemic problem facing not just EY, but also the other members of the Big Four: KPMG, Deloitte and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, according to Atul Shah, an accounting

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