In the meantime, the longstanding auditor of the group is increasingly targeted. The Schutzgemeinschaft der Kapitalanleger (SdK) filed a criminal complaint against two incumbent and one former auditor of Ernst & Young GmbH (EY) because of the events surrounding Wirecard, as the shareholders’ association announced on Friday.
The SdK also had great doubts that Ernst & Young – EY would be suitable as an auditor.
The shareholders’ association will therefore initially vote for the investors represented by SdK at future general meetings against an appointment of EY as auditor and / or group auditor.
EY was initially unavailable for comment.
EY had checked Wirecard’s numbers and audited its balance sheets for more than a decade.
It was only when the 2019 balance sheet was reviewed that the auditors noticed that bank confirmations for trust accounts in the Philippines were falsified. The accounts should have 1.9 billion euros – a quarter of the balance sheet total.
Wirecard then had to file for bankruptcy on Thursday.
Britain’s Last HK Governor Bemoans Territory’s Loss of Autonomy
As Britain’s last governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten introduced a series of democratic reforms in preparation for what was expected to be 50 years of relative autonomy following the territory’s return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. Since then, he has watched that autonomy get slowly whittled away.
What Beijing has done to Hong Kong is the “biggest assault on freedom and liberty in any city in the 21st century, certainly as big as anywhere else,” Patten said at a virtual policy forum last week.
“What they’re doing in Hong Kong is to destroy what was promised in Hong Kong: a high degree of autonomy — one country, two systems. They’re doing that in a way which I must say will give Taiwan even greater room for thought because I’m sure what they’re doing in Hong Kong, they would like to do one day in Taiwan.”
Patten spoke at a discussion on the future of Hong Kong organized by the Canada-based Macdonald-Laurier Institute in partnership with the London-based Hong Kong Watch, the EU-based European Values Center for Security Policy and the multinational Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China.
Discussing Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s objective in Hong Kong, Patten said: “In so far that he cares a jot about Hong Kong — I’m not sure he does, really — is that Hong Kong should simply be another Shenzhen, a neighbor to Shenzhen that loves China and therefore loves the Communist Party.”
Shenzhen is the southernmost city of China’s continental territory, bordering Hong Kong.
The Chinese Communist Party’s decision to rule Hong Kong in the same way as the rest of China not only deprives Hong Kongers of the lifestyle and freedoms they cherish, but also stands to slow China’s own economic development, Patten said.
"We know that 70% of direct investment that goes into China, and investment that comes out, goes through Hong Kong," he said. "We know about the importance of [initial public offerings] which are funded through Hong Kong."
"One reason why so many investors will make their excuses and disappear to Singapore or to Seoul or to Tokyo is because they know the importance of free flow of information," he added. "They know that’s not possible in a Chinese communist system."
In the 90-minute seminar that also featured other speakers, Patten said the current decade “may represent what’s called ‘peak China,’” but it is important not to exaggerate China’s importance to the rest of the world.
“It’s true that China is the largest country in the world, and it’s true that China is a huge market for us. But the truth of the matter is: China needs us just as much, and perhaps in some respects even more, than we need China.”
British exports to China have increased in real terms by just 3% since 1980 while China’s exports to Britain have risen by 9%, he said. “So who’s helping whom?”
“I think it’s very, very important that we don’t fall for the Chinese communist confection that somehow we all need them more than they need us.”
Patten stressed that emerging global efforts to constrain China’s power are not a war against the Chinese people.
“It is not anti-Chinese to say we should stand up for liberal democracy," he said. “Standing up for liberal democracy means standing up for one another,” not the least those in Hong Kong and in the rest of China.
Patten, serving as chancellor of Oxford University since 2003, urged the international community to help “provide a lifeline” to those who dare to resist China and the pro-Beijing Hong Kong authorities, including by providing more Hong Kong students with fellowships to study abroad.
No Signs North Korea Moving Toward Denuclearization
North Korea gave no indication Tuesday that it has moved any closer to denuclearization in its statement during the final day of the U.N. General Assembly.
"In the present world, where high-handedness based on strength is rampant, genuine peace can only be safeguarded when one possesses the absolute strength to prevent war itself," North Korea's U.N. Ambassador Kim Song said. "As we have obtained the reliable and effective war deterrent for self-defense by tightening our belts, peace and security of the Korean peninsula and the region are now firmly defended."
The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has demanded complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization from the rogue nation, but two summits between the leaders have not brought any tangible progress toward that goal, and their once warm personal relationship has grown colder.
Ambassador Song also appeared to take a swipe at South Korea's decision to manufacture its own stealth fighter jet. Seoul released photos earlier this month of the prototype of the KF-X, which media reports say it plans to roll out by April 2021.
"It is an undeniable reality of today that cutting-edge military hardware, including stealth fighters, continue to be introduced into the Korean peninsula and nuclear strike means of all kinds are directly aimed at the DPRK," he said, referring to his nation by the abbreviation for its formal name — Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The United States and South Korea also regularly conduct joint military drills in the region, the last one in August, which Pyongyang considers "hostile policies."
Song also alluded to the country's struggle under targeted international sanctions intended to halt the regime's effort to attain a nuclear weapon.
"It is a matter of fact that we badly need an external environment favorable for economic construction," the envoy said. "But, we cannot sell off our dignity just in a hope for brilliant transformation — the dignity which we have defended as valuable as our own life. This is our steadfast position."
The North Korean diplomat was one of just a handful of diplomats to present a speech in person at the mainly virtual forum, where leaders sent pre-taped messages. This year's gathering, which usually draws thousands of leaders, diplomats and press, moved online because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Song said that thanks to the "extraordinary wisdom and strong determination" of leader Kim Jong Un, the pandemic was under "safe and stable control."
The state of the pandemic is unknown in the reclusive nation, as Pyongyang has not reported COVID-19 data to the World Health Organization.
Students Miss Milestones, But Learn to Adapt
Yes, it’s a pandemic, and, yes, it certainly is better to be safe than sorry, but nonetheless, college students are lamenting the loss of major milestones — like starting college, moving on campus, celebrating turning 18 or 21 with friends, and graduation — interrupted by COVID, they say.
“I couldn’t move into American University, haven’t moved to a new country, haven’t met my friends,” said Lexi Adler of Toronto, an incoming freshman at American University in Washington, D.C., who is waiting it out at home with her parents in Canada for now.
As classes continue online during the COVID-19 pandemic, many students say they didn’t expect to start with online classes and miss out on the physical, social and cultural experience.
Aashka Raval, a sophomore at the University of Cincinnati from Gujarat, India, is living in an apartment off-campus this semester, studying what educators are calling a blended learning system of mostly online and some classes in person.
Most years, the first weeks of school at the University of Cincinnati are “so much fun, a lot of welcome week events, you get a lot of free stuff, it is like a fresh start every year” Raval said.
Lexi Adler and her family decided it was best to defer and start school in the spring semester after American announced the fall semester would be all online.
“My parents said, ‘no way,’” about coming to Washington, “… they were against it since June because of COVID,” Adler said.
Her high school prom was canceled, and she had to forego a backpacking trip through Europe this summer.
Last spring, she’d been looking forward to graduation from Branksome Hall in Toronto, where her sister graduated five years ago in a memorable ceremony. But this year for her graduation, ceremonies were 100% virtual.
“I had a whole plan to walk down the aisle with my best friend and wear my white dress,” Adler told Voice of America through a messaging interview. She said she felt “like I was robbed,” she said.
At home in Toronto, she volunteers at Autism Speaks Canada. Hoping the pandemic situation in the U.S will improve so she can move to nation’s capital and start college in January, she said she “missed everything about AU.”
Raval had a very different experience than Lexi last year when her sophomore year at the University of Cincinnati was cut short and her summer plans changed.
She had hoped to get her first internship off-campus in the field of computer science and visit her family in India over the summer.
“Every summer, international students usually are only able to work or intern on campus so summer is when we can seek out our own internships off-campus,” Raval said.
But everything moved online, and some companies couldn’t offer summer internships to students like they had in previous years because of the coronavirus. Raval was unable to have the internship experience she had been expecting.
Meklit Shiferaw is from Ethiopia and a freshman in her second semester at Minnesota State University-Mankato. She moved to the U.S to start her first semester of college in January 2020, but she was unable to enjoy a lot of the experiences associated with the first semester of college.
In an email interview, Shiferaw told Voice of America that she had missed out on “in-person class, different in-person activities, in-person lab sessions, and a birthday party.”
Failing to enjoy all of these important events, Shiferaw said she “feels like I am missing the fun part” that she expected when she came to school in the U.S.
Shiferaw said she learned that she needs “to be strong and shape myself according to the system.”
Adler said she has become “more grateful for my life before COVID.”
And Raval said she learned to adapt and be able to “work on more personal projects, little courses online and things I always wanted to read about.”
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