Growing doubts about Markus Braun
IIn the Munich fraud process surrounding the billion-euro bankruptcy of the payment service provider Wirecard, the court contradicts statements made by the accused ex-group boss Markus Brown. The 53-year-old and his defense attorney Alfred Dierlamm confirmed on Thursday that Braun had not received any instructions from the supervisory board for his presentation of the group’s situation in a stock exchange announcement two months before the collapse. “It’s not about a recommendation or specification, but about the question of whether that’s right or wrong,” said the presiding judge Markus Födisch. The former Wirecard boss could not dispel the judge’s increasing doubts about his statements.
Braun had stated in the ad hoc announcement on April 22, 2020 that a special investigation at the Dax group had not found any evidence of balance sheet manipulation. According to the public prosecutor’s office, however, this was due to the fact that the auditing company KPMG did not get a comprehensive insight. Braun later had to admit that 1.9 billion euros were missing from trust accounts. According to the public prosecutor, Braun and two other defendants are said to have invented the sum and are therefore guilty of accounting fraud, market manipulation and gang fraud. Braun says the money existed and was embezzled behind his back.
Public prosecutor Matthias Bühring presented documents from the auditors and the supervisory board at the hearing before the Munich district court on Thursday, who at the time expressed their dismay at Braun’s ad hoc announcement. “This representation does not correspond to our perception,” wrote a KPMG examiner in an email to Braun, which Bühring projected onto a screen. According to the minutes of a supervisory board meeting, the entire board was “surprised that the recommendations of the supervisory board were not taken into account by the board of directors when formulating the notification”. and the wording of his communication was justified.
Braun sees himself betrayed, among other things, by his former board colleague Jan Marsalek, whose area of responsibility included the supposedly billion-dollar trust accounts in Asia. Marsalek was shortly before the bankruptcy of Wirecard fired in June 2020 and went into hiding. Braun has stated that months earlier he himself had pushed for Marsalek’s removal because he was dissatisfied with his participation in the special investigation. A dispute broke out when Marsalek told him in February 2020 that he had single-handedly moved billions from Singapore to the Philippines.
On Thursday, however, Braun stated that he had no doubts about Marsalek’s honesty until his own resignation: “I gave him as a person until June 19th. absolutely familiar.”