Wirecard: Munich public prosecutor strikes back

In the last meetings of the Wirecard investigative committee before Easter, the Munich public prosecutor suddenly slipped into the wrong light. The employees of the financial supervisory authority Bafin said unanimously that the warnings of the Munich public prosecutor’s office of an imminent speculative attack were the main reason for a so-called short sale ban by the Bafin in February 2019.

These alleged warnings from the public prosecutor’s office were based on a fax from Munich and telephone calls. Nobody can remember the phone calls exactly, but the fax is there. The content can be described as laughable when viewed objectively. The senior public prosecutor Hildegard Bäumler-Hösl reports in the form of a “note” of a telephone call that she made on February 15, 2019 at 7:30 am with the lawyer from Wirecard, lawyer Enderle from the Munich law firm BubGauweiler. Enderle told the chief public prosecutor a story that he had learned from Wirecard’s “Compliance Officer”, Jan Marsalek: According to this, employees of the renowned Bloomberg news agency extorted Wirecard: They demanded six million euros from Wirecard. In the event of non-payment, the Bloomberg people would team up with the journalists of the Financial Times (FT) and report critically about Wirecard. In addition, a whistleblower from Singapore is on the way to London at the expense of a hedge fund. Enderle’s conclusion to the public prosecutor’s office: “Because of these incidents, another attack on Wirecard is feared today.”

Bloomberg told the newspaper about the blackmail allegation, “That would be ridiculous if it weren’t so offensive.” The FT set up a commission of inquiry and found that Wirecard’s allegations that the newspaper were working with shortsellers were untrue be. Neither the Munich public prosecutor nor the Bafin have ever contacted either media, on the contrary: The Bafin filed a complaint with the public prosecutor against Dan McCrum, the FT journalist.

The Bafin employees questioned by the committee said that the Munich public prosecutor had made it clear to the Bafin employees that this extortion should be taken very seriously. The heads of the Bafin also confirm this version. In addition, the public prosecutor has committed the Bafin employees to the strictest silence. Therefore, the responsible Bafin clerks could not have told their colleagues at the Bundesbank, for example, why the Bafin wanted to resort to the unusual means of a short sale ban. For the approval of the European supervisory authority ESMA, the Bafin employees even had to obtain special permission from the public prosecutor’s office in order to even be able to say what it was about.

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This gave the members of the investigative committee a relatively consistent picture: the Munich public prosecutor fell for a Marsalek “robber pistol” and frightened the Bafin to such an extent that they saw no other option than a ban on short sales. The public prosecutor’s office is even said to have expressly spoken out in favor of such a ban, report the Bafin employees.

But at the request of the Berliner Zeitung, the Munich public prosecutor’s office provided a completely different account. Anne Leiding, chief public prosecutor and press spokeswoman said: “We have always worked well with BaFin, but everyone clearly has their own responsibility. For example, we would not ask any BaFin employees whether we should bring charges or not. On the other hand, we do not give BaFin any recommendations for action. We are not the superior authority of the BaFin and therefore cannot put any pressure on the BaFin and we do not have this here either. ”Leiding continues:“ On the contrary, after sending the fax, we did not contact BaFin ourselves, but the Bafin did Phoned the public prosecutor several times. We are definitely not responsible for the supervisory measures of the BaFin or for the prevention (!) Of possibly criminal short attacks. In this respect, we are also not a suitable contact, because we do not observe any developments on the financial markets. ”

Fabio De Masi: “There are still central contradictions in the public prosecutor’s office”

There could also be no question of an express duty of confidentiality: “If it is true that a BaFin employee asked a public prosecutor for his opinion, then this would by no means be a reliable basis for a decision by the responsible BaFin. We cannot remember prescribing ‘strictest silence’; on the other hand, we take it for granted that sensitive information is handled sensitively. ”Leiding continues:“ As far as comprehensible, the information that a possible short attack was feared was generally allowed can be passed on orally, but not automatically the fax as such. ”The public prosecutor“ can no longer reconstruct ”whether a specific request from BaFin to pass the fax on to the Bundesbank or ESMA has been made. The telephone inquiries at that time, however, “simply clearly touched the exclusive decision-making authority of BaFin”. This also explains “why the public prosecutor’s office did not file any notes for this”.

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Regarding the notorious note about the alleged conspiracy of two well-known media companies against Wirecard, Leiding said: “With the fax of February 15, 2019, the Munich Public Prosecutor’s Office I fulfilled its obligation to inform BaFin, no more and no less. In general, information received by the public prosecutor’s office that does not (yet) lead to suspicion of an offense that has already been committed, but which requires the examination of supervisory or hazard prevention measures by another authority, is immediately passed on to them “To the police, food control centers, youth welfare offices or the BaFin”. It is not the case that “the public prosecutor’s office, as has been rumored several times, ‘believed a robber’s gun’. For our obligation to pass on information, it does not depend on whether we consider it to be correct. ”

Leiding points to the fact that in the fax “the word blackmail does not even appear”. Bäumler-Hösl had already explained in detail in the investigative committee why the facts described were not blackmail in the criminal sense. In fact, the public prosecutor’s office abstained from any evaluation in the fax. It’s basically a conversation note with no recommendation for action.

For the Munich public prosecutor’s office, however, the issue of short sales and speculative attacks is not yet over. The “investigations into possible shortsellers” are still ongoing.

Leiding also explains that an investigation was never carried out against Dan McCrum and a colleague: “The only ‘investigative measure’ that was taken against the journalists was to contact their defense lawyers by immediately granting full access to the files.” at no point in time “:” The initiation of a preliminary investigation was not initiated, the prerequisite for a possible criminal offense was lacking. “

Senior Public Prosecutor Leiding said her authority wanted to “stay out of the ‘blame game’” before the investigative committee and “concentrate entirely on the time-consuming and difficult investigations of the possible perpetrators of commercial gang fraud at Wirecard”.

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However, Fabio De Masi from the Left has by no means excluded the public prosecutor’s office. He told this newspaper: “There remain central contradictions with the public prosecutor. Marsalek was allowed to take a leisurely stroll from Germany, although 1.9 billion euros did not exist at Wirecard and he had already been searched. He was only written to Interpol when he did not show up for his appointment because Marsalek’s lawyer said he was looking for the money in the Philippines. ”

De Masi continues: “After a raid, Braun was the only one not to have the cell phone confiscated because it was in Vienna and no legal assistance request was made to Austria. Burkhard Ley is set free. The ban on short sales relied on a British drug dealer as a key witness, spoke several times in the case of the robber gun about the extortion to the BaFin of serious indications and signaled to the Bafin that a short sale ban would be better than a suspension of trading in Wirecard shares, although one is in favor of it The public prosecutor’s office is not responsible. ”De Masi:“ Marsalek was not even summoned, but a Financial Times journalist was prosecuted for alleged insider trading without any concrete evidence. The prosecutor’s office is talking its way out. “

Florian Toncar from the FDP told this newspaper that, according to the statements made by the public prosecutor’s office, the committee “should actually make a comparison between the Bafin and the public prosecutor’s office”. Other parties are not averse to this idea either: Fabio De Masi had already applied for the idea as a “cross-examination” in the committee, but had not yet found a majority in favor.

The chairman of the committee, Kay Gottschalk, told this newspaper: “For me, there is only one logical conclusion to the opinion of the Munich public prosecutor: one of the witness parties is not telling the truth. It appeals to me to confront the witnesses or to question them in a kind of cross-examination. Everything that serves to establish the truth and is legally possible should also be tried. It remains logical that only one person is telling the truth. “

One wants to discuss how to proceed at the next chairman conference.

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