Sharp criticism of a thin statement from ex-Wirecard boss Braun
The chairman of the parliamentary committee of inquiry wants to examine the imposition of fines in order to force a testimony.
Members of all parties in the German Bundestag were disappointed with the brief statement made by the former Wirecard boss Markus Braun. “Even if you don't say anything, you say something,” criticized the Green politician Danyal Bayaz. Braun missed a chance and showed himself callous. He is disrespectful and not ready for political education.
During the political processing of the billion-dollar Wirecard accounting scandal, the former CEO Braun only read a five-minute statement before the parliamentary committee of inquiry on Thursday. The 51-year-old Austrian refused to make any further statements.
The chairman of the parliamentary committee of inquiry, the AfD politician Kay Gottschalk, now wants to examine the imposition of fines in order to force a statement. Braun left parliament in the dark. “We will certainly summon him again. There will be a sequel,” said Gottschalk. Bayaz said this would likely happen next year. Braun had previously said that he only wanted to testify to the Munich public prosecutor's office in the criminal proceedings against him.
CSU politician Hans Michelbach said that Braun continues to sit on a high horse. Florian Toncar from the FDP sees it similarly: “Markus Braun has not changed.” He had shown that he could not be trusted. “He showed his temperament very, very well.” As recently as Monday, his lawyers had offered to testify to political contacts in the U-Committee in a letter to the Federal Court of Justice, but no specific questions had been answered.
Braun is currently in custody in Augsburg. The public prosecutor accuses him and other Wirecard managers of commercial gang fraud, falsification of accounts and market manipulation. Wirecard is said to have calculated itself for years with systematic air bookings and thus inflicted billions in damage to investors and banks. The former DAX group collapsed in June. It is one of the biggest financial scandals of the post-war period.
Former supervisory board member sees “failure of the board of directors”
A former board member of Wirecard has meanwhile made serious allegations against the management of the collapsed payment processor. “I consider the path the company is on as risky,” wrote management consultant Tina Kleingarn at the end of September 2017 to Wulf Matthias, then head of the supervisory board, explaining her resignation. The letter was before Reuters on Thursday.
The board of directors acts “too autonomously” and regards the control of the company as a burden. “Sooner or later these shortcomings will take revenge and risks taken may materialize.”
Kleingarn sat on Wirecard's supervisory body from June 2016 to the end of December 2017. You have asked the board several times to increase the management capacities of the group and to professionalize the control structures. Analysts had also repeatedly accused Wirecard of having too few board members and supervisory boards for a DAX company.
The former CEO Markus Braun, who has been in custody since the company's bankruptcy in the summer, acted like a “sole owner”, criticized Kleingarn in the letter. For example, his own contract extension within 24 hours with “untenable justifications” was brought about by the supervisory board.
The partner of the management consultancy Westend Corporate Finance, which was supposed to testify before the parliamentary committee of inquiry, also criticized the fact that decision proposals for operational business had been presented very late. The management board does not have sufficient understanding of controlling the company and the supervisory board does not oppose the behavior decisively enough.