Germany promises to probe audit regulator's Wirecard dealings

FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of Wirecard AG, an independent provider of outsourcing and white label solutions for electronic payment transactions is seen in Aschheim near Munich, Germany, September 22, 2020. REUTERS/Michael Dalder/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier promised to investigate after it emerged that the head of the body that regulates auditors had traded in Wirecard stock just weeks before the payment services company collapsed amid massive fraud allegations.

As head of audit regulator APAS, Ralf Bose was responsible for regulating EY, which audited Wirecard’s accounts for years until it collapsed following the discovery of a 1.9 billion euro ($2.30 billion) hole in its accounts.

“We will discuss the matter with the people involved,” Altmaier said on Friday, adding that he was “concerned” after learning overnight of Bose’s share trading. Promising that the matter would be “intensively” examined on Friday, he said authorities would check if the rules had been followed.

Bose told a parliamentary committee that he had dealt in Wirecard shares shortly before its collapse, according to attendees of the closed door meeting.

There is no evidence that his trades broke any rules. APAS declined to make any immediate comment.

The matter has become an embarrassment for officials and authorities, who have been charged with failing to monitor with sufficient rigour a $28 billion euro company that many had believed was a rare German digital champion.

($1 = 0.8252 euros)

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