FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Frankfurt prosecutors are investigating German financial regulator BaFin’s handling of bankrupt payments company Wirecard, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.
Federal prosecutors and police made a surprise visit to BaFin’s headquarters on Wednesday to submit a letter requesting information, the spokesperson said.
BaFin has faced widespread criticism for failing to find fault before the collapse of the payments company, and its chairman has stepped down.
BaFin declined to comment.
“We have received several letters from concerned citizens requesting charges against the unnamed person from BaFin,” said a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office.
The complaints revolved around the alleged lack of oversight of Wirecard AG and Bank Wirecard, he said, adding there were also complaints about the alleged use of insider information in trading Wirecard securities.
“We are investigating these allegations,” he said. We haven’t opened a formal criminal investigation.
The involvement of Frankfurt prosecutors raises further questions about Germany’s surveillance of a company that began processing payments for gambling and pornography before becoming a star of “fintech” – financial technology – and ultimately Germany’s biggest case of fraud.
Prosecutors also visited unidentified German federal authorities and unidentified banks with requests for information, the spokesman said.
Reporting by Tom Sims and Patricia Uhlig. Edited by Maria Sheahan and Mark Potter