Börse Express – ROUNDUP 3: Wirecard special auditor indicates deficits in final audit

(new: EY examiner invokes confidentiality (3rd paragraph))

BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – In the Bundestag investigation committee on Wirecard -Balance sheet scandal have indicated deficits in the audit of the scandal company. The special investigator Alexander Geschonneck from the auditing company KPMG was interviewed in the Bundestag on Thursday. In a special audit, he had revealed that there was no evidence of the existence of alleged customer relationships and the sales of the emerging tech group. He did not have to use any special methods for this, said the business IT specialist. “It is not rocket science what we did there,” he said.

These were standard test methods that the Institute of German Auditors also provide. “We didn’t go any further than to behave according to our standards,” said Geschonneck. He did not want to evaluate the specific work of the Wirecard auditors at the EY auditing company. For years, these auditors had confirmed the scandal group’s financial statements as correct.

An auditor from EY invoked his duty of confidentiality during his interview in the evening – but made general statements about the process of audits. He would like to comment specifically on the Wirecard case, but he could not do so until the legal situation has been clearly clarified, said Christian Orth. The 50-year-old says he heads the internal quality assurance department at EY. Orth emphasized in the committee, among other things, that an unqualified auditor’s report is not a seal of approval for a company. The auditor’s way of working is “unfortunately” based on trust, he said.

The financial politician of the Greens, Danyal Bayaz, assessed the testimony of the KPMG auditor Geschonneck as a “disastrous testimony” for the auditors of EY. The SPD chairman in the committee, Jens Zimmermann, emphasized that there were considerable doubts as to whether the year-long auditor ever had suitable documents to confirm the existence of the accounts. With a proper final audit, the Wirecard fraud would have been exposed, he said.

EY’s balance sheet controllers are currently under pressure in a number of ways. According to a report by the “Handelsblatt”, which was confirmed by the dpa, the auditors’ supervisory authority Apas also raises allegations against them. There should be indications of criminal offenses by the actors involved, the supervisory authority has therefore called on the public prosecutor.

An EY spokesman said: “EY sees no evidence of criminal misconduct by EY auditors in the Wirecard case.” The left’s financial politician, Fabio De Masi, commented: “The roof is on fire at EY!” Several employees of the auditing company were supposed to testify later that evening in the committee, but had already invoked their duty of confidentiality as auditors.

Above all, the investigation committee in the Bundestag wants to uncover whether the German fintech company Wirecard, an up-and-coming star on the stock market, has been handled with kid gloves by the supervisory authorities despite indications of irregularities.

The now insolvent former Dax -Group had granted air bookings of 1.9 billion euros in the summer. The company, once traded as a German technology hope, made losses for years according to the current state of the investigation. The Munich prosecutor assumes that fictitious profits have been reported since 2015. According to their calculations, banks and investors alone lost more than three billion euros. Many shareholders also lost large sums of money after the stock market crash.

KPMG was commissioned with the special audit in October 2019 after there were several reports of irregularities at Wirecard. The company then put a few obstacles in the way of the special auditors, Geschonneck said. “In the course of the investigation, we encountered significant hurdles and obstacles that were due to Wirecard’s unwillingness to cooperate.” Some documents were made available several months late, interview dates were postponed and access to IT systems was not made possible.

The result was nevertheless clear: Wirecard did not provide sufficient evidence of the existence of customer relationships and the revenues allegedly generated from them for business with third-party partners in Asia. These deals are said to have made up more than half of Wirecard’s sales and a large part of profit. Geschonneck./tam/DP/he reported that there was insufficient evidence of the amount of sales, account balances or incoming payments

 ISIN  DE0007472060

AXC0405 2020-11-26/20:59

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