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Wirecard's missing billions 'not' in the Philippines

June 21, 2020

Wirecard was meant to have $2.1 billion in two Philippine banks, but the country's central bank said the bank documents were fake. The German financial startup has now admitted the money probably never existed.

People walk past a Wirecard booth at a games fair in Germany
Image: Reuters/W. Rattay

The Philippines' central bank said on Sunday that $2.1 billion (€1.9 billion) belonging to German payment firm Wirecard had not entered the country's financial system.

The announcement comes after Wirecard CEO Markus Braun resigned, as the company remains in hot water for not posting annual financial statements on four separate occasions and for alleged fraud.

Wirecard's latest financial statement postponement was triggered when the company's auditor Ernst & Young said that proof for deposits totaling $2.1 billion could not be found.

Read more: Wirecard shares plunge over 50% as financial report delayed again

The money was said to be held in two Philippine banks, BDO Unibank Inc and Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI). 

But on Sunday, central bank governor Benjamin Diokno said that both banks had denied that Wirecard was their client and noted that documents linking them to the money were fake.

"The initial report is that no money entered the Philippines and that there is no loss to both banks," Diokno said. 

"The international financial scandal used the names of two of the country's biggest banks - BDO and BPI - in an attempt to cover the perpetrators' track," he added.

Stock markets: Wirecard share plunges ever more dramatically

Billions 'do not exist'

WIrecard released a statement on Monday saying that the missing billions likely never existed. and said it was also withdrawing its full-year 2019 and first-quarter 2020 financial results.

"The Management Board of Wirecard assesses on the basis of further examination that there is a prevailing likelihood that the bank trust account balances in the amount of 1.9 billion EUR do not exist," the statement said.

It said it was examining a range of options to ensure the continuation of its business operations, including cost reductions, restructuring, disposal or termination of business units.

The German financial startup is already under investigation over questions about whether its executives provided inaccurate information to investors and about whether it has been the victim of market manipulation.

Wirecard now has until Friday to produce its 2019 financial statement. If it fails to do so, the firm could see €2 billion euros of credit withdrawn.

Read more: Scandal-hit German fintech Wirecard secures $1 billion investment

The company said Friday that it was in "constructive talks with its creditor banks" to avoid that scenario.

Wirecard joined Germany's DAX 30 index amid great fanfare two years ago after edging out more established lender Commerzbank.

jcg/mm (dpa, Reuters)