Former Wirecard CEO Markus Braun was released on bail following his arrest in connection with the payments company’s $2.1 billion accounting scandal, reports say.
Braun, 50, posted his bail of 5 million euros ($5.6 million) on Tuesday, a day after he turned himself in to German prosecutors who accused him of falsifying income to make Wirecard more attractive to investors, according to multiple news reports.
Munich prosecutors lifted an arrest warrant against Braun, who resigned from Wirecard last week, even as they continued to investigate him, Reuters reported. Authorities say he used bogus income from transactions to inflate Wirecard’s sales volume and assets.
Braun was arrested the same day Wirecard admitted 1.9 billion euros that went missing from its accounts likely never existed. That followed the payment processor’s Thursday revelation that its auditor refused to sign off on its 2019 accounts over the missing cash, kickstarting a downward spiral.
German prosecutors are also probing the rest of Wirecard’s former management board — including ex-chief operating officer Jan Marsalek, whom the company fired Monday, the Financial Times reported. Marsalek is said to be in the Philippines and looking for records to clear up the case, according to Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.
The massive accounting scandal has caused Wirecard’s stock price to plunge more than 80 percent in just five trading days. The company’s shares were trading below 15 euros Wednesday morning, down from about 191 euros in 2018.
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