VIENNA: An Austrian lawyer has filed a criminal complaint against Wirecard's former Chief Executive Markus Braun and Chief Operating Officer Jan Marsalek at a court in Vienna, accusing them of market manipulation and serious fraud.
The Vienna prosecutors' office confirmed on Tuesday (Jun 30) that it received the claim, which was first reported by Austrian newspaper Der Standard.
The lawyer, Joerg Zarbl, told Reuters on Tuesday that Braun took out a 120 million euro (US$135 million) loan to buy at least 2.5 million Wirecard shares via a holding company in May after a critical audit by KPMG sent its shares crashing in late April.
Braun's stock buys helped Wirecard's shares recover, Zarbl said. He wants prosecutors to investigate whether Braun's intention was to send positive signals to the market. "There is a suspicion of market manipulation here."
Wirecard was once one of the hottest fintech firms in Europe with a market value of US$28 billion at its peak. It filed for insolvency on Thursday owing creditors nearly US$4 billion. Its auditor EY said a massive hole in its accounts was the result of an elaborate and sophisticated global fraud.
German prosecutors are already investigating possible criminal offences in connection with the payments firm, as is the Philippine's anti-money laundering agency.
Braun was released on bail after being arrested in Munich last week. His lawyer was not immediately available for comment. Marsalek is missing. His law firm declinedRead More – Source