On Wednesday, German lawmakers said they planned to question Chancellor Angela Merkel and Deputy Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz about the Wirecard scandal.
Wirecard filed for protection from creditors through bankruptcy proceedings in June 2020 after admitting that € 1.9 billion that should have been deposited in a trust account in the Philippines may not have existed. The once rising digital payments giant was also found to have billions in debt. The company is suspected of having faked balance sheets for years.
Free Democratic (FDP) finance expert Florian Toncar told DW that Merkel “lobbied to support Wirecard with the Chinese president” during a 2019 trip to China.
“At that time, the chancellor should not have lobbied on behalf of the company, but prosecutors and police should have come in and searched the company premises,” he said.
Merkel will be called to testify on April 23, a day after Scholz, the candidate the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) hopes will replace Merkel’s Christian Democrats after this year’s national elections.
Toncar also told DW that Scholz’s ministry failed to prevent the scandal.
“Most of the political responsibility lies with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Olaf Scholz,” said Toncar, a lawyer specializing in international finance and a member of the parliamentary inquiry investigating Wirecard’s bankruptcy.
Parliamentary committee members were formed to investigate the widely publicized claims of adultery find great failure on the part of German authorities and politicians.
On Wednesday, German lawmaker Toncar told reporters that the financial authorities and political leaders had “strong and reasonable indications. criminal behavior on Wirecard … and not just from newspapers. “
He denounced the “culture of irresponsibility” in Germany, saying it was primarily focused on “who has jurisdiction and who doesn’t have jurisdiction.”
“By the way, our impression is the worse the higher your hierarchy,” he said.
Such scams ‘need a network’
Leftist party lawmaker Fabio de Masi accused government officials of cooperating to allow the “fraud”.
“No one person can commit fraud like that, it takes a network,” said de Masi. Among other things, he criticized the “very ongoing commitment of the German government” to Wirecard in China even after serious accusations were exposed.
A nine-member investigative committee was formed in early October at the request of parliamentary opposition groups from the Left, Green and the FDP. Authorities are also examining the fugitive of Wirecard’s former chief of operations, Jan Marsalek, who has reportedly been an informant to Austrian intelligence agency BVT.
Interpol issued a red notice for Marsalek in 2020 for charges of “ breach of Germany’s obligations for securities acts and acts of securities trading, criminal breaches of trust (and) very serious cases of fraud. ”
lc / dj (AFP, AP)