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German Finance Minister Scholz had known Manipulation in Wirecard since February 2019

Wolfgang Holzem

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A progress report shows how early the Federal Minister of Finance was informed of the allegations. Now MPs are calling for a committee of inquiry.

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz had been aware of suspected manipulation by the payment service provider Wirecard since February 2019. “Information to the Finance Minister” is noted for February 19, 2019 in the progress report that the Finance Ministry sent to the Parliament on Thursday. The note states: “It was pointed out that the BaFin was investigating in all directions”. Already on February 14, 2019, the financial supervisory authority BaFin had informed the ministry that it was “investigating alleged market manipulation in all directions against Wirecard AG”.

The ministry has made a chronological order of all activities in the Wirecard case since January 2014. Afterwards, the finance secretary responsible for the case, Jörg Kukies, asked the chief  of BaFin, Felix Hufeld on 8 March 2019 “about the status of current events and BaFin’s measures”. Over the course of time, the dates become more compact. On June 22, 2020, Scholz was given detailed information again, on the same day Wirecard announces that 1.9 billion euros cannot be found.

It was only under pressure from the coalition partner CDU / CSU and the opposition in the Bundestag that the SPD-led ministry withdrew a special confidentiality of information in the Wirecard affair on Thursday. Specifically, it was a conversation between Jörg Kukies and the former Wirecard CEO Markus Braun. Both had met on November 5, 2019 and discussed “a variety of topics and the Wirecard group of companies”. Among other issues, according to the status report, it was about the “market manipulation suspicion and the start of KMPG special examination”.

KPMG’s auditors had started a special investigation on behalf of the Wirecard Supervisory Board in October 2019 to clarify the allegations of balance sheet manipulation. Braun celebrated his 50th birthday on November 5 and the conversation with Kukies is said not to have taken place during the celebration, but rather early in the morning.

Who initiated the initiative is still open.

The German Ministry of Finance had initially classified the content of the interview as “Confidential” and triggered a heated debate. Florian Toncar, chief of the FDP parliamentary group, had complained in writing about the insufficient clarification on Thursday. “The time for a comprehensive investigation in the normal way is running out,” criticized Toncar. “If the meager information policy of the ministry continues, we will need a committee of inquiry.”

The Left Party sees “increased need for clarification” about political contacts of the company in federal and state politics. It is also about the role of Bavaria, said MP Fabio De Masi.

It was not conclusive to classify Wirecard as a technology group and to delegate supervision to the Lower Bavarian government.

We have to find out what role the intelligence services have played at Wirecard.”

Former founder of Asiarooms.com and now reporting mainly on the Asia Pacific region and the global Coronavirus crises in countries such as Thailand, Germany & Switzerland. Born near Cologne but lived in Berlin during my early teenage years. A longterm resident of Bangkok, Udon Thani, Sakon Nakhon and Phuket. A great fan of Bali, Rhodes & Corfu. Now based on Mallorca, Spain.

Myanmar

Myanmar Diplomat in US Seeks Asylum After Military Coup

Wolfgang Holzem

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A key diplomat in the Myanmar embassy in Washington said Thursday he is seeking asylum in the U.S. in protest of the military coup in his homeland.

Maung Maung Latt, a first secretary in the embassy, told VOA’s Burmese Service “I decided to seek asylum in this country because I cannot accept the illegitimate takeover of power by the military.”

“It is total injustice that I can’t stand,” he said, “and I am also concerned especially for the future of the younger generations of our country.”

Maung Maung Latt said that since President Joe Biden “gives priority to human rights, I hope they will grant me asylum,” although there was no immediate response from the U.S. government. The Myanmar envoy said he was “concerned about [his] safety at this moment.”

Maung Maung Latt said that “among the Myanmar diplomats around the world, there are those who welcome the coup and those who do not welcome it.” But he urged fellow diplomats “to join civil disobedience against the military.”

He said the military takeover “will cause serious damage and unthinkable disaster for the country, I’m afraid.”

Maung Maung Latt said he thinks that high-ranking civilian officials will be replaced by military officers.

Prior to his posting in Washington, Maung Maung Latt had served in the country’s embassies in Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand. He had been set to return to Myanmar in the next month and retire.

Myanmar’s military, the Tatmadaw, seized power Monday, declaring a yearlong state of emergency and detaining de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint, among others.

The coup took place following days of tension between the military and the ruling National League for Democracy, which won the November elections. The Tatmadaw has refused to accept the results, alleging massive election fraud.

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Germany

Holvi Mastercard temporarily suspended due to Wirecard insolvency

Wolfgang Holzem

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Holvi Mastercard has been temporarily suspended due to recent events in connection with the insolvency of Wirecard AG

How did this happen?

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has suspended service for Wirecard Card Solutions Ltd (WDCS) earlier today. WDCS is a subsidiary of Wirecard AG and issues the Holvi Business Mastercard. This decision was taken by the FCA without any prior notice.

What does this mean for you?

All other functions of your Holvi account are still fully available. You can still invoice, receive and transfer funds. Please be assured that all Holvi customer accounts and funds remain safe, secure and accessible at all times – no Holvi accounts have been impacted by this event. This is because all Holvi customer funds are segregated and held in separate accounts in European banks in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the UK and France.

No customer funds are held by Wirecard AG. Your money and Holvi account are safe.

Your trust is our top priority. We’re actively working on a solution and will continue to update as soon as possible.

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Germany

Wirecard Board wants to continue Business in the UK and discussion are ongoing with the FCA

Wolfgang Holzem

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The payment processor struggling to survive a balance sheet scandal Wirecard, continues to do business despite the application for bankruptcy. “The board is of the opinion that a continuation is in the best interest of the creditors,” said the Dax group on Saturday in Aschheim near Munich.

The management board made an application for the opening of insolvency proceedings for Wirecard AG last Thursday.

According to the company, the examination of whether insolvency proceedings will be opened continues.

The business operations of the group companies including the licensed units are currently being continued, it said. It is constantly checked whether bankruptcy applications for subsidiaries of the Wirecard Group must also be made. Group companies, with the exception of a small development branch, have currently not filed for bankruptcy.

The Wirecard Bank is currently not part of the bankruptcy proceedings, the payment transactions of the Wirecard Bank are not affected, the company emphasized. Payments to Wirecard Bank merchants would continue to be carried out without restrictions. They are also “in constant communication with the credit card organizations”.

Wirecard Card Solutions has interrupted business

Wirecard Card Solutions Limited, based in Newcastle, “has interrupted its business due to an order from the responsible Financial Conduct Authority,” it said. However, Wirecard hopes to be able to continue operations in the UK with its current global B2B clients.

Current B2B clients include Payoneer, Hovi, Curve.

Measures for this are discussed currently with both the UK and German authorities.

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