Wirecard Trial

The live ticker

This is PayRate42 live ticker to the process of the decade.

We follow all the events in the process and provide our readers with all the necessary information about the process.

The facts 

In June 2020, the DAX-listed German fintech unicorn Wirecard collapsed. More than €20 billion in assets were wiped out. A trial against former CEO Braun, among others, starts today. Three former Wirecard executives are accused: former CEO Markus Braun, the former managing director of a Wirecard subsidiary in Dubai, Oliver Bellenhaus, and ex-chief accountant Stephan von Erffa. There are many unanswered questions that this trial is to answer in the 100 hearings scheduled. Stay tuned for our background and trial reports.

The accused

Oliver Bellenhaus

  • cooperates with the public prosecutor’s office as a crown witness
  • managing director of a Wirecard subsidiary in Dubai

Markus Braun former CEO:

  • He and his defense team, on the other hand, say it has evidence of the existence of this business

Jan Marsalek former COO:

  • still on the run, probably in Russia

Crown witness

Oliver Bellenhaus has informed Munich prosecutors that, starting in 2010, he created an array of shell companies based in Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

He said he did so at the behest of Jan Marsalek, Wirecard’s former chief operating officer, who is now on Interpol’s most wanted list, the people added.

Day 4

  • In the trial in Munich, the prosecution’s key witness has comprehensively confirmed the prosecution’s central allegation: The alleged billions in sales of the Dax group, which collapsed in 2020, with “third party partners” in the Middle East and Asia were fictitious – and CEO Markus Braun was actively involved.
  • At the beginning of Thursday’s session, defense lawyers for the three defendants and the judge argued about further questioning of Bellenhaus. According to his defense attorney Florian Eder, he only wants to answer questions from the court, but not the defense attorneys of the co-defendants.
  • Bellenhaus again heavily incriminated his co-defendants and other managers accused by the prosecution. Together, they had falsified the billions in the books. “The core team was Dr. Markus Braun, Jan Marsalek, Burkhard Ley, Stephan von Erffa and myself,” said the former Wirecard governor in Dubai. CEO Braun had been the “inspirer” and “spiritus rector”.
  • Oliver Bellenhaus yesterday made specific allegations against Austrian-born Braun for the first time, describing in detail the falsification of documents and sales. “We made that up, of course,” Bellenhaus said on the sixth day of the trial about the billion-dollar bookings in escrow accounts in Southeast Asia.
  • In response to the court’s explicit question about whether the third-party business existed, Bellenhaus said, “I answer in no uncertain terms: no.” The payment service provider had filed for insolvency in the summer of 2020 because 1.9 billion euros allegedly booked in said escrow accounts could not be found. The “third-party partners” were companies that supposedly processed credit card payments on behalf of Wirecard in countries where the Bavarian group itself did not have a corresponding license.
  • The only goal, he said, was to deceive the auditors. “The auditor needed something, and then the panic arose,” Bellenhaus said. According to Bellenhaus, those personally involved in the falsification of bookings, contracts, minutes and other documents included former Chief Sales Officer Jan Marsalek, who had been in hiding since 2020, the chief accountant and himself.
  • According to Bellenhaus, CEO Braun is said to have taken personal care to defuse the auditors’ demands for insight into the group’s business records. For example, Bellenhaus reported in detail about a meeting between four people in Braun’s office on Oct. 24, 2019. The topic was a special audit by the auditing firm KPMG; Marsalek and the chief accountant were also present, according to the report.
  • “We had no transaction data that was in any way presentable,” reported Bellenhaus, who was managing director of Wirecard company Cardsystems Middle East in Dubai until the insolvency. “It was perfectly clear: There is no data.” But Braun said, according to Bellenhaus, that he had spoken to the CEO of KPMG and that the audit would not be that bad. “It was just a bullshit statement.”

Day 3

  • The first showdown will take place today in the criminal proceedings concerning the alleged billion-dollar fraud at the former payment services provider Wirecard. For the first time, the accused key witness Oliver Bellenhaus will have his say.
  • The defense of the former Wirecard CEO in Dubai has announced that their client will testify and face his responsibility
  • According to reports, Bellenhaus, who is considered a key witness for the public prosecutor’s office, wants to shed light on several aspects of the Wirecard scandal in a presentation lasting several hours.
  • While ex-CEO Markus Braun repeatedly let it be known through his defense counsel that this third-party deal existed, Bellenhaus has gone on record to say that this deal was fictitious.
  • Braun defense attorney Alfred Dierlamm and Bellenhaus attorney Florian Eder attacked each other and covered themselves with violent accusations for several hours. The defense attorney for the third defendant, Stephan von Erffa, also took a shot at Bellenhaus. Sabine Stetter called him a “dubious key witness”.
  • Key witness Bellenhaus: “Wirecard was a cancer that ran rampant undetected for years”.
  • It is Oliver Bellenhaus’ turn. The reading of a 94-page statement begins, after which 115 more are to follow, which even the judge did not expect
  • He then goes on the offensive: “Wirecard was a cancer that ran rampant undetected for years.” It also follows the retort to Braun’s lawyer’s accusations. “Markus Braun was an absolutist CEO. If he said something, it was done.
  • Complex payment stringsFollowing Bellenhaus causes difficulties for all journalists in the hearing room. He speaks quietly, quickly and monotonously. In addition, the subject matter of the tangled payment strands is extremely complex. The auditors had been misled into believing that they were using false bases to calculate the existing trust funds. Amounts in the tens of millions were repeatedly circulated in order to justify a non-existent third-party business. According to Bellenhaus, it also cannot be assumed that “only” 1.9 billion euros were embezzled; it would have to be at least 2.5 billion euros.

Day 2

  • Ex-Wirecard CEO Markus Braun wants proceedings against him stopped.
  • Braun denies the allegations and sees himself as a victim of managers around the fugitive former board member Jan Marsalek, who had siphoned off billions. Dierlamm said Braun has been more prejudged than any of his clients in the past 30 years since Wirecard collapsed in the summer of 2020. “The pre-conviction is unprecedented as it is formative for these proceedings.”
  • On the second day of the trial, Braun’s lawyer requested a stay of proceedings because he found payment flows from Wirecard. He says the prosecution made serious mistakes
  • Former Wirecard CEO and Austrian Markus Braun and his lawyers want more time to review documents. His defense attorney Alfred Dierlamm announced Monday a motion to suspend the fraud trial against Braun and two other ex-managers of the insolvent payment services provider. The background was “what was poured onto our table in terms of files,” he said at the beginning of his statement, scheduled to last about two hours, on the second day of the trial.
  • Day two, it is the day of the lawyers. Alfred Dierlamm, Braun’s defense attorney, begins his opening statement. “How long is this going to take?” asks Judge Markus Födisch. “I haven’t practiced,” Dierlamm replies. But it should be a little over two hours. Then he begins his lecture and his complaint: “Braun, the biggest crook,” he has heard. And, “Braun presents himself as a victim.”
  • Lawyer Alfred Dierlamm attacked Wirecard’s former governor in Dubai, Oliver Bellenhaus, head-on before the Munich Regional Court on Monday. He said his statements to the public prosecutor’s office were not credible and implausible.
  • “Bellenhaus is not a state witness,” Dierlamm said. “Bellenhaus is the main perpetrator of a gang” whose sole aim was to divert funds out of the company and embezzle them, he said. Braun has been more pre-judged than any of his clients in 30 years since Wirecard’s insolvency in June 2020, the lawyer said. “The prejudgement is unprecedented as it is formative for these proceedings.” The Higher Regional Court, which was responsible for Braun’s pre-trial detention, and the Wirecard investigation committee of the Bundestag also fell for Bellenhaus’ false testimony, he said.
  • In addition, the former Wirecard state representative in Dubai destroyed evidence in order to cover up the fact that he had embezzled large sums – which would actually have been due to Wirecard AG – via shell companies in the Caribbean. Lawyer Dierlamm says: “Through this massive act of concealment, the alleged key witness of the public prosecutor’s office has deprived the entire proceedings of the data basis.”

Day 1

  • The trial of the century begins with a significant delay. At the scheduled start at 9 a.m., most of the media representatives are still standing outside the entrance to the courtroom.
  • “We wanted the public to be able to participate as well,” said Judge Markus Födisch, explaining the delay of nearly three quarters of an hour.
  • The first day of the trial began with the prosecution reading the indictment, which took 5 hours.
  • At around 11 am, the trial had to be briefly interrupted because on that day the German government tested a nationwide cell phone emergency alert.
  • It was also planned that the defense attorneys for Braun and Brllenahus would read their statements, but due to the lack of time, this was postponed until Monday the 12th.

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