Crypto Card Issuer Wirecard Says It's Missing $2.1B in 'German Enron' Scandal

Wirecard admitted the accounting hole was roughly a quarter of the company’s total balance sheet.

AccessTimeIconJun 18, 2020 at 3:48 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:53 a.m. UTC

Former German blue-chip Wirecard has said a quarter of its total balance sheet is missing after "spurious cash balances" were provided to its auditor, EY.

In an explosive statement Thursday, the Munich-based card issuer, said a total of €1.9 billion ($2.1 billion) could not be accounted for and that some members of the company had purposefully filed false or misleading statements "in order to deceive the auditor and create a wrong perception of the existence of such cash balances."

Wirecard admitted the accounting hole was roughly a quarter of the company's total balance sheet.

A former poster child of the German tech scene, Wirecard has been heavily scrutinized over supposed irregularities in its accounting practices. The company was accused last year of fraudulently inflating sales and profit figures, and that it was using client funds held in escrow accounts to boost cash balances.

Wirecard's share price has tanked. At press time, shares traded at the €36 (~$40) mark, down 70% since Wednesday. The credit card issuer had once been one of Germany's most prestigious companies, even surpassing Commerzbank with a €24.6 billion( ~$27.6 billion) market valuation in September 2018.

Lionel Barber, former editor-in-chief of the Financial Times, said on Twitter that Wirecard was turning into a German version of the Enron scandal.

Wirecard subsidiary Wirecard Card Solutions branched out into crypto when it became the issuer for crypto payment card providers Crypto.com and TenX. Wirecard had also partnered with TON Labs, the developer house behind Telegram's blockchain. A court document also claimed Wirecard's COO participated in the $1.7 billion token sale in 2018.

It's unclear if Crypto.com, which only rolled out is payment card in Europe last month, is planning on switching its card issuer. CoinDesk reached out for comment but hadn't heard back by press time.

Wirecard had already delayed the release of its audited financial statements and Thursday was supposed to be the final publication date. Today's news has now pushed this back indefinitely. The delay means creditors will be able to pull up to €2 billion (~$2.2 billion) worth of loans as of Friday.

Wirecard's board is now working "intensively" with EY "towards a clarification of the situation."

DISCLOSURE

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Trending

1
CoinDesk - Unknown
Three Arrows Paper Trail Leads to Trading Desk Obscured Via Offshore Entities

As Three Arrows Capital collapsed under market pressure, its much-lesser known trading desk, TPS Capital, remained active, sources say. But a complex ownership structure might frustrate creditors' efforts to collect.

CoinDesk - Unknown
2
CoinDesk - Unknown
June Was Bitcoin’s Worst Month Ever

Plus, European crypto regulation comes into view.

CoinDesk - Unknown
3
CoinDesk - Unknown
What Traders Are Saying About Bitcoin's Biggest Monthly Loss in 11 Years

Poor macroeconomic sentiment, fears of inflation and systemic risks from the crypto market pushed the cryptocurrency below 2017’s highs.

CoinDesk - Unknown
4
CoinDesk - Unknown
Three Arrows Capital Files for Bankruptcy in New York Tied to British Virgin Islands Proceeding

A British Virgin Islands court ordered Three Arrows' BVI branch into liquidation earlier this week.

CoinDesk - Unknown