Wirecard Scandal: Trial of Marsalek and other Austrian Entrepreneurs to Begin

PeopleOther ♦ Published: December 7, 2022; 23:41 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Wirecard criminal trial in what is believed to be the biggest fraud case in Germany since 1945 begins in Munich. The public prosecutor's office accuses the former Wirecard CEO, Austrian Markus Braun, and his two co-defendants of forming a criminal gang, falsifying the group's balance sheets and cheating lenders of 3.1 billion euros

Some of Europe's most wanted fugitives, including the former COO of Wirecard AG, Jan Marsalek (middle row, 2nd from left). / Picture: © Europol / 2021 Europe's most wanted

Accused ex-CEO Braun, head of Wirecard subsidiary in Dubai Oliver Bellenhaus and the former chief accountant, as well as the fugitive head of sales Jan Marsalek. Braun and Bellenhaus are in custody.

The Fourth Criminal Chamber of the Munich Regional Court has scheduled around 100 trial days into 2024. The five-hour reading of the 89-page indictment is essentially scheduled for the first day.

Even before the trial begins, it is foreseeable that the defendants will make contradictory statements. According to ORF, ex-CEO Braun will deny the accusations. Oliver Bellenhaus, on the other hand, will serve as a key witness for the prosecution. According to the defense, Bellenhaus wants to testify cooperatively and face his responsibility, ORF reported. The third defendant is the former chief accountant of the Wirecard Group and is expected to refuse to testify in the courtroom, according to ORF.

The Wirecard investigation is far from over, even though the trial is now beginning. Fugitive is still the former head of sales Jan Marsalek, which as Vindobona.org reported is suspected that the Austrian has gone into hiding in Moscow.

About Wirecard

Wirecard AG, headquartered in Aschheim, Germany, is an insolvent listed payment processor and financial services, provider. Wirecard offered solutions for electronic payments, risk management as well as issuing and accepting credit cards. The subsidiary Wirecard Bank AG holds a German banking license.

On June 25, 2020, Wirecard filed for insolvency after it became known that several billion euros were missing. Longtime Austrian- born CEO Markus Braun resigned and was later arrested. Austrian-born former COO Jan Marsalek was fired, went into hiding and is wanted by German police on an international arrest warrant for fraud.

Wirecard's insolvency triggered a political scandal across Germany.The structure of German financial market supervision was criticized in many quarters as outdated and inadequate. In particular, the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority was accused of incompetence and undue proximity to Wirecard executives.

A Wirecard investigation committee exists in the 19th German Bundestag.As a result of the scandal, the German government announced reforms to the relevant supervisory authorities in February 2021.