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Opinion

Wirecard shows risks of fashionable fintech

Nationalist desperation to get ahead in fintech surely explains some of the spectacular regulatory failure in the Wirecard accounting scandal.

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Short-sellers are reaping more than financial rewards from a multi-billion euro accounting fraud at German payments processing firm Wirecard. 

Among other measures to defend the now-stricken firm, German financial regulator BaFin temporarily banned shorting its shares in 2019. Now the short-sellers have taken the moral high ground – despite Europe’s recent Covid-19 shorting bans – as Wirecard’s downfall has left former chief executive Markus Braun subject to a criminal investigation.

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Markus Braun, CEO of Wirecard AG, an independent provider of outsourcing and white label solutions for electronic payment transactions attends the company's annual news conference in Aschheim near Munich, Germany April 25, 2019. REUTERS/Michael Dalder - RC1FF1200C50
Michael Dalder/REUTERS

Markus Braun, Wirecard 

Fraser Perring is one of the short-sellers who did most to publicize doubts about Wirecard’s accounting, initially sparking a sharp selloff in Wirecard shares in 2016, following disclosures by Zatarra Research and Investigations. 


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