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Aachen | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak

Wolfgang Holzem

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Aachen is a historically important city, spa and university centre in North Rhine-Westphalia, situated at the “three lands corner” where the borders of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands meet. Known as Aix-la-Chapelle in French and Aken in Dutch, the city has played a prominent role in early Medieval Europe, when it became the favoured residence of Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor who created the empire in the late 8th and early 9th century and built the city’s impressive cathedral, where he is now buried along with a succession of later German rulers, many of whom were also crowned in the city.

Coronavirus since Reopening

Germany | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak
3,116,950
Confirmed
21,934
Confirmed (24h)
80,387
Deaths
246
Deaths (24h)
2.6%
Deaths (%)
2,752,000
Recovered
15,900
Recovered (24h)
284,563
Active

Apart from its medieval significance and a wealth of preserved artifacts, Aachen is also known for its springs, which have been attracting visitors since the Ancient Roman times and continue to do so today, with a number of historic baths and hotels sprinkled around the town. Contributing to the city’s wealth and prominence is also the technical university, which made Aachen a hub for modern technologies and provides a sizeable student population (over 40 000 of the total 250 000 inhabitants). With all this, Aachen is now a multi-cultural, popular tourism destination.

Historically this spa-town was a prominent city, the place where the German Kings were crowned, and a famously favoured residence of Charlemagne who still lies buried in the impressive cathedral he himself had built. The city is packed with historic sights that remind of those days, including medieval buildings, city gates and beautiful fountains.

Introduction

Aachen was the preferred residence of Charlemagne, “Roman” Emperor from 800 to 814 AD and king of an empire covering much of modern-day Italy, France, Germany and the Benelux. Additional information can be found at the Route Charlemagne Aachen website.

As Aachen is a legally recognised spa, it could call itself Bad Aachen, but refuses to do so, as it then would no longer be first in almost all alphabetical lists.

The city lies at the borders of Germany with Belgium and the Netherlands, forming the economic region called the Euregio. There are several Euregios in Europe, but regionally speaking just of “the Euregio” is understood to mean the one centred on Aachen.

Travel to Aachen

Image of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideTravel by plane to Aachen

Aachen shares its own airport with Maastricht, but Maastricht-Aachen airport  (located some 40 km outside the city centre, in the Netherlands) is connected to only a limited number of international destinations and served by budget carriers. An Airport Express shuttle runs regularly to and from Aachen main bus station, called Gilbacher AirportXpress and leaves from platform 4. Tickets can only be purchased from the driver and cost €10. There are no trains between Aachen and the airport.

The nearest large airports are Düsseldorf  and CologneBonn . Both airports can be reached by train, via the Düsseldorf and Cologne central stations respectively. Other small airports within reasonable distance are Weeze (, trains) and “Brussels” South Charleroi Airport  trains). Also Liège (Lüttich) airport in Belgium is around 45min car journey away. Antwerp airport, also in Belgium, requires a 90-minute car ride. Finally, Eindhoven airport in the Netherlands is at 1 hour car ride distance. Probably Aachen is unique in having 8 airports in 3 countries within 140 km.

If for some reason none of the nearby airports are feasible or affordable, the airport in Frankfurt, Germany’s main hub, has a direct ICE connection and offers a number of trains to Aachen with one interchange or less. For some airports the rail&fly programme the German railways offer together with several airlines might be an option. For more on that see rail air alliances

Cheap Flights to Maastricht

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Travel by train to Aachen

From France and Belgium

Both Thalys and ICE-Trains connect  Aachen Hauptbahnhof with Liège and Brussels with Thalys trains continuing to Paris. There are also local trains from Liège every two hours.

From elsewhere in Germany

Local trains (Regionalexpress) from Cologne and Düsseldorf run every half hour and take around 55 minutes from Cologne, 85 to 110 minutes from Düsseldorf. Ten times per day, high speed trains go from Cologne to Brussels via Aachen (around 35 minutes), either Inter City Express (coming from Frankfurt) or Thalys (continuing to Paris).

Travel by bus to Aachen

eurolines travel to and from Aachen. There are direct journeys to London (roughly 10 hours), Brussels (3 hours), Paris (6.5 hours) and Prague (11.5 hours), among others. Coaches depart from Wilmersdorfer Straße, on the outskirts of the city. The selection of domestic routes is surprisingly less extensive, although Aachen is not far from Cologne, which is served by many more routes.

Travel by car to Aachen

Being on major routes from the Netherlands and Belgium to Germany, easily reachable via the A4 and A44.

Parking in the town centre costs around €2 per hour. There is also park and ride available around the outskirts of the town.

If you don’t have your own vehicle, car-sharing is a possibility. Car-sharing is very common in Germany, but you should of course be cautious when booking a trip nonetheless. blablacar.de and mitfahrgelegenheit.de are good resources for finding rides to Aachen, although you’re less likely to be successful if you’re looking to book far in advance. Payment is expected.

From the Netherlands

  • Bus line 50 from Maastricht serves Aachen every 15 minutes and passes through Margraten and Vaals. Bus line 44 runs between Heerlen and Aachen (45 min, €3.95) For €8 you can buy a ticket, which allows all-day travel on South Limburg bus routes, including those to local cities such as Heerlen, and selected train routes. It is 1 hour 15 min from Maastricht. See Veolia Transport for timetables (Regio: Limburg).
  • From Heerlen there’s also a direct train connection.
  • By car, you can just drive in via Vaals or take the highway. The A76 connects to the German A4. Take exit 2 to Aachen/Laurensberg.

Getting around in Aachen

  • ASEAG Customer-CentreSchumacherstraße 14, 52062Monday to Friday 07:30-18:00; Sa 08:30-14:00On arrival in Aachen, it may be worth visiting the ASEAG Customer-Centre (ASEAG operate the city’s bus system) opposite the bus station. Here, you can pick up timetables for all bus routes run by the company and you can of course speak to an adviser as well. There are no timetables available for services run by Veolia, such as the number 50 to Maastricht, or for bus services run by Deutsche Bahn, such as the number 66 to Monschau.
  • By train: Whilst Aachen does not have an U-Bahn or S-Bahn network like many other large German cities, it is still possible to travel through the city by train. The euregio-Bahn is a local line that stops at the stations Aachen West (not far from RWTH Aachen University), Aachen-Schanz, Aachen Hauptbahnhof (the most convenient for the city centre) and Aachen-Rothe Erde. A single ticket for a journey within the city is €2.55; ticket machines are available at all stations.

The old town is best explored on foot and orientation signs can be found all around. Aachen at a whole is a fairly large city. A car can come in handy but parking can get expensive, mainly in the center of town. Fortunately, Aachen has an excellent city bus system, operated by ASEAG, including a few night bus lines. You can get tickets from the bus driver. You can rent a bike at the “fahrrad station”, in the central train station. Although it is not the most biker-friendly town in Germany, there are a number of bike routes and getting around on bike is increasingly popular. Taxis are readily available on the train stations but also on streets.

Sightseeing Tips

  • Aachen Cathedral (Der Aachener Dom / Hohe Domkirche), Domhof 1.  Jan-Mar: daily 07:00-18:00; Apr-Dec: daily 07:00-19:00. During mass access is restricted to attending in the services. Touristic visits are recommended for Monday to Friday after 11:00; Saturday to Sunday after 12:30Aachen Cathedral is one of the most famous examples of occidental architecture. Around 800, the core building of the Palace Chapel was built. During the 14th and 15th centuries, the Gothic choir (the “Aachen glasshouse”), the north and south chapel were added. Through the centuries, many other constructions and decorations were completed. Today, it is a unique and beautiful two-storey cathedral of classical pillars, bronze railings, golden masterpieces, glassworks, etc. The cathedral is the memorial and funeral place of Charlemagne (814). Heiligtumsfahrt The Aachen pilgrimage has taken place every year since 1349. In 1978 it was the first German building to be inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage List. €1 for a wristband that allows taking photos (though they usually will not collect it if you’re on a tour).
    • Aachen Cathedral TourDominformation Visitor Center, Johannes-Paul-II.-Str14:00There’s a 45 min English guided tour every day. Tickets are sold inside Dominformation (not the cathedral). €4/adult €3/concession.
    • Cathedral Treasury (Domschatzkammer), Johannes-Paul-II.-StraßeTreasure grove (Schatzkammer) hours: Jan-Mar: M 10:00-13:00; Tu-Su 10:00-17:00. Apr-Dec: M 1000-13:00; Tu-Su 10:00-18:00; closed on 24 and 25 Dec, 31 Dec, 1 Jan, and some days around carnivalEcclesiastical treasures from Antique, Carolingian, Ottonian and Staufian epochs,including Cross of Lothair and the Bust of Charlemagne. Public and private tours are available with reservations for additional cost. €5/adult, €4/concession, €10/family.
    • RathausMarkt.  The medieval town hall. The mayor of Aachen still has their office in there.
    • Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst (Ludwig Forum for International Art), Jülicher Straße 97-109, 52070 (Slightly outside the city centre, in between Stadtgarten and Europaplatz) ,   Tu W F 12:00-18:00; Th 12:00-22:00: Sa Su 11:00-18:00While the building looks less than impressive from the outside, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst houses a grand collection of contemporary art, including works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Keith Haring. Text accompanying the works is given in German and English. Adult €10; Child €6.
    • International Newspaper Museum (Internationales Zeitungsmuseum), Pontstraße 13.
  • Elisa Fountain (Elisenbrunnen), Friedrich-Wilhelm-PlatzBuilt 1827, thermal waters of the spa town.
  • Couven-MuseumHühnermarkt 17.  18th-century house and furniture.
  • Belvedere rotating water tower (Drehturm), Belvedereallee 5.  Park above the town.
  • GrashausFischmarktOriginal town hall, completed in 1267, is one of the oldest buildings in Aachen.
  • Haus Löwenstein14th-century building.
  • Suermondt-Ludwig-MuseumWilhelmstraße 18.  German and Dutch sculpture and painting collection.
  • Ponttor14th-century city gates.
  • Marschiertor13th-century city gate.
  • Zollmuseum FriedrichsHorbacher Straße 497, 52072 Aachen-Horbach (Bus 44).  1st and 3rd Sunday 11:00 and 14:30Museum about border crossings and the border. Phone to reserve.
  • RWTH Aachen University (Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen) If you are interested in architecture, you can find all building styles from 1900 till today concentrated at the city-campus around Templergraben.
    • Main building
    • Kármán Auditorium
    • Audimax
    • Mogam
    • Super-C The reception building of the RWTH-Aachen. Build to resemble the letter C. Nicely illuminated at night.
    • Reiff Museum
    • Rogowski building
    • Department of mining
    • Semi 90
    • Heizkraftwerk (now lecture halls)
  • UniklinikThe university’s hospital. One striking example of post-modern architecture like the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

What to do at Aachen

  • LousbergA recreational area situated just north of the city centre that offers stunning views of the city below.
  • Sit on the Market place (central city) on a summer evening, watch students strolling by, listen to guitar players and have a beer, bought at a small Turkish or Chinese diner around.
  • Walk through the Frankenberger Viertel (Frankenberg Quarter), an alternative area in the south of Aachen; have lunch or dinner in a Turkish or Arab diner.
  • Carolus ThermenPassstr. 79Large and very well known spa, sauna and wellness place.

Learn

Aachen is home to the highly regarded RWTH Aachen University, which is particularly strong in the field of mechanical engineering. While language courses during semester time are only available to students of the university, travellers may be interesting in applying for the Internationaler Sommerkurs (international summer course) which takes place annually in September and is open to students from some partner universities. Alongside an intensive language course, participants can take advantage of the programme of cultural events offered. To apply, one must be at least 18 years old and have prior knowledge of German at level A1 (the lowest level, roughly equivalent of being able to write a post card) on the Common European Framework for Languages or above.

Shopping

German opening hours have a lessened effect in Aachen, as just across the border in the Netherlands, all shops are open in the small town of Vaals, which can be reached by bus lines 25, 33, 35 and 50.

  • Aachen Christmas Market (Aachener Weihnachtsmarkt) (Located in the city centre. Parking nearby can be an issue some days, so it may be wise to make use of the Park & Ride system organised mainly for the market. See the website for more information.) ,   11:00 – 21:00 dailyFrom late November until 23 December, Aachen’s Christmas market takes over Katschhof, Münsterplatz and the market square. Traders offer a wide variety of gift ideas, such as cosmetics, jewellery and ceramics, and there are plenty of opportunities to eat and drink your fill – a trip here wouldn’t be complete without a glass of Glühwein! If you need a break, take in a performance at the rear of the town hall (see the website for a detailed programme). The market looks particularly stunning when lit up at night, set against the magnificent cathedral and town hall. Free entry.
  • AdalbertstraßeShops and cafes in one of Aachen’s pedestrian zone shopping areas.
  • Krämerstraße and MarketSmall shops in a very touristic area.
  • GroßkölnstraßeThe second big pedestrian zone shopping area in Aachen, where you´ll find clothing and more.
  • JakobstraßeSmaller shops and boutiques.
  • Lindt Factory Outlet (Lindt Werksverkauf), Süsterfeldstraße 130, 52072Monday to Friday 09:00-18:00; Sa 09:00-16:00Stocks a wide range of Lindt chocolate products, at low prices, which have been produced in the neighbouring factory.
  • Lambertz Factory shopRitterstraße 9Gingerbread and biscuits.
  • Nobis PrintenMünsterplatz 3.
  • Klein PrintenbäckereiKrämerstraße 12.

Restaurants in Aachen

Aachen offers many different cuisines, from traditional German food to exotic cuisines. The centre offers restaurants of all categories, prices being relatively cheap in comparison with other German cities. Students prefer the snack bars and light meals offered at Pontstraße.

Budget

  • Pont GrillPontstraße 119Very cheap and good chicken, pizza and Turkish food.
  • PoloniaMarienbongard 24Polish bistro. Has lunch offers. Four to six Polish beers.
  • FrietnessePontstraßeFries with over 50 different sauces. Also hamburgers and Dutch specialities.
  • SarayPontstraße 118Turkish food besides döner kebab.
  • JakobsimbissJakobstraße 75Chinese and Thai fast food.
  • Del NegroJakobstraße 73Best ice cream in town.
  • Sultans of KebabPeterstraße 23Döner Kebab, Turkish desserts.
  • BabylonKönigstraße / Karlsgraben“The Kebab Cube” if you have only €2.20 left.
  • White HousePontstr. 141- 149Cheap but still nice-looking restaurant with special lunch offers: Buffet for €5.90 or Schnitzel for €4.90.

Mid-range

  • Goldener SchwanMarkt 37 (Opposite Rathaus).  15th-century building where you can get local and German meals. For example Aachener Puttes a type of Blutwurst similar to English black pudding.
  • MaredoReihstraße 10.  Delicious Argentinian food chain based in Germany. Good food, not expensive. Open late and offer late-night specials and lunch specials.
  • Estado SteakhausSeilgraben 39.  Great steakhouse with a salad bar and wide variety of dishes.
  • Carlos IRennbahn 1 (next to the Cathedral).  This Spanish restaurant offers authentic Spanish cuisine like Tapas, the perfect food for sharing, Paella, etc., at medium prices
  • San ShengPontdriesch 13Open only during weekday lunch hoursAuthentic Chinese food.
  • OishiiPontstraße 83.  Great Japanese restaurant. Reserve your table in advance.
  • MaranelloPontstraße 23.  Daily 21:00-23:00Italian pizza from a real stone oven.
  • KaribikSandkaulstraße 5.  Colombian restaurant.
  • KnossosTemplergraben 28.  Greek restaurant frequented mostly by students.
  • Bacchus (Restaurant Bacchus), Roermonder Str. 28 (With Buslines 24, 27, 33, 44 und 47 from Aachen BusCentral station towards Pontstreet and Bendplatz. Get off at Ponttor and follow the road straight through the Ponttor and then through the underpass direction Bendplatz. On the other side of the underpass, go straight ahead. After about 50 m you will find us on the right handside. For car drivers, parking lots are available in the Rütscher Straße, in Turmstraße, on Roermonder Straße, as also around the Bendplatz which is just 350 m away.) ,   Monday to Friday 16:00–23:00, Sa Su 12:00–23:00Great Greek restaurant with a wide variety of dishes. Absolutely recommendable gyros and grill dishes

Splurge

  • La BécasseHanbrucher Straße 1.  French restaurant

Drink

There’s no need to order your drinks at the bar when in Aachen – simply take a seat and a member of staff will come over to take your order. They’ll write down what you’ve ordered on your coaster. When you’ve finished your drink, someone will soon come along and ask if you’d like to order another. When you’re ready to pay, hand over your coaster to a member of staff. It’s expected that you leave a small tip when paying; 5 – 10 % is expected, typically by rounding up to the nearest Euro. You should make it clear you want to leave a tip before handing the money over by saying, for example, “I’ll pay €8”.

A helipad in Aachen lit up at dusk

The Pontstraße begins at Markt facing the historic city hall and ends at the Ponttor, part of the medieval city walls. Pontstraße is the main student hangout and offers a large variety of restaurants and bars, from pizzerias to late night hangout spots and a cinema (Apollo). A special treat are public fiestas happening at Karneval and important football matches. Don’t miss it if you have the chance! Reached by a number of bus lines from Bushof; park near University.

  • MolkereiPub suitable for younger crowd, near Ponttor.
  • Cafe MadridPub/bar better for an older crowd, posher, near Ponttor.
  • PontgartenCheap cocktails and nice food.
  • Sowiso/OceansTypical student-inn.
  • EgmontPontstraße 1–3 (Right at one end of Pontstraße, close to the Rathaus) ,    Monday – Saturday from 08:00; Su from 09:00A delightful bar/café that occasionally hosts live music. Food can be ordered from the Lebanese restaurant next door and brought to your table without you having to get up!

Nice pubs elsewhere:

  • Guinness HouseNeupforte 6, 52062 (Despite the address to the left, the entrance is actually located just around the corner on Mostardstraße. It’s situated between the city centre and the Pontstraße.).  A stereotypical Irish pub, just like you’d find in any other big city, however it’s one of the few places in Aachen that sells cider, so it’s definitely worth checking out if beer isn’t your thing! There’s also live music (more often that not traditional Irish music) here on a regular basis.
  • KisteBüchel 368PM-lateSmall pub with wooden interior that plays mostly rock and metal music. Has a discount on different drinks each day, e.g. Weizen (wheat beer) on Mondays for €2.10
  • Buddha BarBüchel 14 (Close to the old town square).  Nice food, has a non-smoking area upstairs with restaurant and bar plus a cool smoking area downstairs with an impressive Buddha statue.

The Quellenhof

Where to stay

Budget

  • Hostel AachenMauerstraße 116.  Close to the city centre.
  • Youth hostel Aachen (Jugendherberge Aachen – Euregionales Jugendgästehaus), Maria Theresia Allee 260.

Mid-range

  • Leonardo Hotel AachenKrefelder Straße 221 (North of the centre between the stadium and junction 3 of the A4).
  • Hotel GranusPassstraße 2a.  Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:00This friendly family-run place has 12 rooms and a bit of a cosy B&B atmosphere. It’s clean and conveniently located in the city centre, with fairly modern rooms and a somewhat quaint breakfast area. It gets good reviews, also suited for family stays. On weekends, the reception has limited opening hours. Doubles from €90.

Splurge

  • Pullman Aachen QuellenhofMonheimsallee 52.  Spacious, comfortable rooms (although some could do with a little redecoration), a swimming pool, fitness area and excellent breakfast buffet. from €130.

Hotels Aachen: Popularity

Hotel Stars Discount Price before and discount Select dates
Hampton By Hilton Aachen Tivoli ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
INNSiDE by Meliá Aachen ★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Mercure Aachen Europaplatz ★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Novotel Aachen City ★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Art Hotel Superior ★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Ibis Styles Hotel Aachen City View Isaan Hotel Deals
Aquis Grana City Hotel ★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Leonardo Hotel Aachen ★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Mercure Hotel Aachen Am Dom ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
ibis Aachen Marschiertor - Aix-la-Chapelle ★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals

Telecommunication

  • Post OfficeKapuzinergraben 19, 52062 (When on Kapuzinergraben, go through the entrance to Kapuziner Karree. You’ll see the Post Office on your right.). Monday to Friday 09:00-18:00; Sa 09:00-14:00This is probably the most convenient Post Office for tourists as it’s located in the city centre. The service is operated by Deutsche Post.

Cope

Religious services

Image of Destination Guide

Saint Michael, Aachen-Burtscheid

Here’s an overview of Christian churches in central Aachen:

Catholic churches:

  • Aachen Cathedral (Der Aachener Dom / Hohe Domkirche), Klosterplatz 2 (Domhof – 15 min from central station) ,  fax+49 241 4770 9144 Su 07:00, 08:00, 10:00, 11:30; Monday – Saturday 07:00, 10:00; Sa 08:00.
  • St. FoillanUrsulinerstr. 1 (just behind Aachener Dom) ,   Su 10:00, 19:30; Monday to Friday 08:30, 18:30; Sa 18:30.
  • St. MarienAureliusstraße 23 (3 min from central station).  Sa 18:30; Su 09:45, 11:15 (Polish), 16:00 (Pol.); Tu Th 18:30; Fr 18:15 (Pol.).
  • St. PeterPeterskirchhof 1 (20 min from HBf; near bus depot).  Sa 15:00 (Vietnamese); Su 11:15; Monday to Friday 12:15.
  • St. MichaelMichaelsbergstr. 6 (Burtscheid). Sa 18:15; Su 19:00; W F 18:00.

For Protestant churches in Aachen see also:

  • AnnakircheAnnastraße 35 (15min from central station). Su 11:00.
  • AuferstehungskircheAm Kupferofen 19-21 (south from station Aachen-Rothe Erde). Su 09:30.

Other:

  • Greek Orthodox Church St. Michael & St. DimitriosJesuitenstr. 6 (close to the cathedral) ,   Su 09:00.
  • Jewish community AachenSynagogenplatz 23 ,   Monday to Friday 08:00-14:00.
  • Bilal MosqueProf.-Pirlet-Str. 20 (near railway station Aachen-West) ,   Friday prayer: 13:15.

Where to go next from Aachen

  • Dreiländereck– The three-country border of Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. Just a 10 min drive out of Aachen in the general direction of Vaals (Netherlands). Walk on the soil of three different European countries in just about under a second. Free. This is also the highest point of the Netherlands. There is a watchtower you can climb. You can get there best if you take the bus to Vaals and take Veolia Transport line 149 or walk.
  • Cologne – Germany’s fourth largest city, with its striking cathedral, is less than an hour away by train.

ja日本語

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.

Germany

Wirecard : How Jan Marsalek Friend Henry O’Sullivan became “Corinna Müller”

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Henry OSullivan

The Briton Henry O’Sullivan is regarded as the dazzling puller of many Wirecard deals and friend of Jan Marsalek and internal emails show how big his influence was in the company.

Henry O’Sullivan celebrated his 40th birthday in paradise. He invited lawyers, managers and high-ranking executives from Wirecard to the lonely dream island of Benguerra off the coast of the East African state of Mozambique. Board member Jan Marsalek and his girlfriend should also come.

As a souvenir, the host wanted: pens for the school children in town and champagne for the party weekend.

The luxury resort Azura Retreats, which O’Sullivan rented in November 2014, had cabins right on the beach, palm trees, and a beach. On arrival, the guests would have to wade through knee-deep water as the British businessman’s assistant warned a month before the celebration. That wasn’t a problem for Jan Marsalek. He preferred to travel by helicopter anyway, according to an email from his secretary.

The extravagant birthday plans reveal a lot about two of the central key figures in the Wirecard scandal. Jan Marsalek (40) and Henry O’Sullivan (46) are close confidants who worked together on big deals far away from the headquarters in Aschheim. Now the judiciary is asking whether millions have been diverted. Wirecard is insolvent and Marsalek is on the run.

O’Sullivan does not answer inquiries. At the beginning of 2020, he only wanted to talk to the examiners from KMPG and EY under certain conditions but then he was no longer available to them.

The beefy Brit was known for his dissolute lifestyle. In Singapore he often dined in a top restaurant on the roof of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, with a view over the harbor. To save time on business trips, he preferred to travel short distances by helicopter instead of taxi and in the meantime he lived on a yacht in Monaco.

Marsalek had O’Sullivan flown in in 2014 to celebrate with him at the Munich Oktoberfest. A year later they flew through South Africa in the Learjet 45XR. And when the Briton wanted to meet the Wirecard executive board in Jakarta in 2014, he asked an Indonesian employee by email about a hotel that would tolerate the “type of spring break business trips”.

Beyond its luxury life, only fragments of O’Sullivan’s businesses are known. The Briton did not hold an official position at Wirecard. Many consider him a “phantom” in the background, a member of the mysterious clique around Marsalek.

It was stored in the Wirecard address book with an external e-mail address for freelancers – his profile photo showed Pablo Escobar, the Colombian drug lord: another bad joke by Jan Marsalek, as insiders suspect.

As much as O’Sullivan was on business trips, he was always careful to be discreet. This is also shown by an episode from spring 2020, when the Wirecard world was already falling apart and auditors examined the opaque third-party business for which Marsalek was responsible.

O’Sullivan was very knowledgeable about third party business and a strange company purchase in India in 2015. He was therefore a sought-after discussion partner for the annual auditors from EY and the special auditors from KPMG. O’Sullivan apparently managed to convince the supervisory board of a special protective measure.

A sought-after discussion partner for EY and KPMG

O’Sullivan demanded at the end of April or beginning of March 2016 that his name should not be recorded in the “final report” or in any other correspondence with Wirecard. “These papers have a habit of appearing in public,” he wrote to an assistant at Marsalek. He assumes that “everything that is written will ultimately be read by others” and he therefore insists on being given a pseudonym.

This is how Mr. O’Sullivan became Mrs. Müller. On March 4, a legal advisor to the Supervisory Board wrote to Wirecard management: “As discussed yesterday, a code name should be used for all further e-mails and other references. Proposal: ‘Ms. Corinna Müller’. ”On the same day, EY agreed not to use the name in communication with Wirecard international.

According to supervisory board circles, however, it was clear: There should be no special treatment in the confidential internal audit report, and O’Sullivan’s real name would have been mentioned here.

How those involved initially adhered to the language regulation became apparent on March 4, 2020. When O’Sullivan allegedly canceled an appointment in Monaco due to Corona entry regulations from Singapore, Marsalek’s assistant wrote to the auditors at KPMG: “Ms. Müller is herself aware of the time pressure and has agreed to contact us tomorrow with a short-term alternative. “

But it did not get to that. According to the “Wall Street Journal”, the special auditor KPMG was cross: O’Sullivan had also made the condition of their auditors anonymous. When they refused, he refused to speak.

He could tell so much in the process. In the ten years before the bankruptcy alone, Wirecard acquired companies for 1.2 billion euros, according to insolvency administrator Michael Jaffé. In his report, Jaffé writes that the deals were one reason for the “enormous consumption of liquidity in recent years”. The public prosecutor is investigating former executives on suspicion of fraud and breach of trust.

O’Sullivan was involved in numerous Wirecard deals. His name is linked to one of the largest and most dubious deals the payment service provider has done in recent years: the takeover of the Indian Hermes group in 2015. Wirecard bought the companies from the Mauritius-registered fund Emerging Markets Investment Fund 1A (EMIF 1A) for 326 million euros. The amazing thing: the fund had only acquired the same company and assets a few months earlier for around 35 million euros and it is still not clear who was behind that deal

Marsalek stated in an interview with Handelsblatt at the beginning of 2020 that he had not checked the background. But insiders report that O’Sullivan and Marsalek were the ones who planned the deal and who ultimately benefited from it. In any case, the original Hermes sellers now feel cheated. They filed a lawsuit that revealed that it was O’Sullivan who negotiated the sale to the EMIF 1A fund for € 35 million.

O’Sullivan also appears at another important point in the Wirecard network, the so-called third-party business. Wirecard achieved a large part of its sales with it, at least according to the balance sheet. Essentially, three companies provided the supposed income: Pay Easy from the Philippines, Al Alam from Dubai and Senjo from Singapore.

The central figure in Senjo was also O’Sullivan, even if he did not hold an official position. A PR consultant for the British company stated in 2019 that her client worked for Senjo. That’s only half the story. In practice, O’Sullivan is said to have been the one in charge of Senjo. In Singapore, the authorities are now investigating for falsification of accounts in the vicinity of the group of companies.

How hard Marsalek worked internally at Wirecard for his party friend O’Sullivan is shown by a short-term lending business from 2016, which several Wirecard board members dealt with. Ascheimer Wirecard Bank AG granted Cottisford Holdings Ltd, a generous credit line of ten million euros from O’Sullivan, for which Wirecard AG guaranteed as internal emails and documents prove this.

“Today the supervisory board formally approved the loan retrospectively, but was not ‘amused’ about it,” wrote the then board member Rainer Wexeler of Wirecard Bank AG on March 2, 2016 to Marsalek. He complained that the panel had been poorly informed. Wexeler asked: “Can you please give me the private address of O’Sullivan and some key business data about his business, his connection to Wirecard AG, etc.?”

Wirecard credit for companies in a tax haven

Marsalek did not reply in writing, but less than a month later he informed him why O’Sullivan’s company had not paid the money back on the agreed date. “The delay resulted from an unexpected complication in the distribution of dividends from one of its holdings.” O’Sullivan believes that the problem “will be resolved in the next few days,” wrote Marsalek.

Wexeler was evidently unsure of the loan. He asked: “It would still be important to know how the money that we made available to him was invested.” There is no answer to this, but that Marsalek suddenly advocated the loan “just days later” long-term “.

The borrower, Cottisford Holdings Ltd., also comes from an island that is likely to be O’Sullivan’s favorite vacation destination, as the British Virgin Islands are a paradise not only for tourists, but also for lovers of lax tax rules.

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Wirecard Scandal claims another Victim – Heike Pauls from Commerzbank

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It’s not even eight months since Germany’s number one payment service provider imploded: Wirecard had to admit in June 2020 that billions of euros never existed on the balance sheet. As a result, board members had to go to jail or disappeared without a trace. Since then, auditors have been distrusted, and the head of the BaFin supervisory authority has to look for a new job. The youngest victim is Heike Pauls of the German Commerzbank.

Up until a few weeks before the Wirecard scandal burst, several analysts in various banks believed in Wirecard. They unshakably believed that the annual financial statements for 2019, which had been postponed several times, would end well, some experts continued to insist on Wirecard price targets of 180 to 240 euros.

One of the bravest supporters of the scandal group was Heike Pauls from Commerzbank. The analyst was always loyal to Wirecard: She dismissed critical reports about the payment processor as false reports and even a few weeks before the collapse she issued a buy recommendation with a price target of 230 euros for the Wirecard share.

As the Spiegel reported, Pauls had in the meantime also provided the management of the payment processor with sensitive information that it had collected specifically on the capital market. In January Commerzbank had already restructured the research department and relieved the analyst of her duties, now the announcement was made:

“Commerzbank has terminated the employment relationship.”

The Wirecard scandal is far from being dealt with. Further personnel consequences in various economic areas could follow. Extensive claims for damages by investors against the insolvent payment service provider are also examined and the the Wirecard share remains taboo for any investors.

 

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Wirecard Committee – Doubts about Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg’s Credibility

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Wirecard Committee Doubts about Guttenberg's credibility

Didn’t Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg tell the whole truth when he appeared as a witness on the Wirecard investigative committee? Internal documents that are available to the ARD studio fuel the suspicion. The SPD accuses him of having lied to the committee and in the opposition too, doubts about its credibility are growing.

In December Guttenberg was asked about his role in the Wirecard scandal in the Bundestag. It was also about an article that the former CSU minister published in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” at the end of March 2020. The topic: The role of short sales in the Corona crisis. At the time, Wirecard was targeted by shortsellers, i.e. stock exchange traders who bet on falling prices for a company and Guttenberg had argued against such short sales in the article.

Mail to ex-Wirecard boss Markus Braun

Guttenberg apparently did not want to draw a direct connection to his work for Wirecard, but there are doubts about this representation.

An email to the then Wirecard boss Markus Braun, however, indicates that Guttenberg could very well have had the now insolvent DAX group in mind when he wrote the text for the FAZ. 

In this email of March 20, 2020, the Managing Director of the communications company Edelman, Rüdiger Assion, proposed a “Short Selling Action Plan” to the Wirecard boss. Among other things, this contained the suggestion that Guttenberg could write a guest commentary on the subject of short sales in the newspapers FAZ or “Die Welt”. An argumentation paper with key messages is also attached to the mail. Just six days later, exactly such a guest comment appears in the FAZ. Guttenberg’s argumentation shows clear similarities with the line proposed in the argumentation paper.

SPD speaks of a lie

The SPD chairman in the Wirecard committee, Zimmermann, therefore accuses Guttenberg of not telling the truth on the witness stand. Zimmermann told the ARD city studio: “He (Guttenberg’s note by the editor) lied to the investigative committee and tried to set the wrong track when he denied arguing for a ban on short sales in the interests of Wirecard. A real surprise is this lack of honesty not with him. ” Now it must be clarified whether Guttenberg deliberately wanted to mislead the investigative committee.

CDU defends Guttenberg

Guttenberg is defended by the CDU. The MP Matthias Hauer said that the SPD should primarily devote itself to the question of why the BaFin, supervised by Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, imposed the short sale ban on Wirecard. “This should certainly contribute more to the explanation of Wirecard than an article in the name of an ex-politician on the subject in the FAZ.”

But doubts about Guttenberg’s credibility are also growing among the opposition. The chairman of the Greens, Danyal Bayaz, said that Guttenberg’s remarks on his opinion contribution had already been implausible in the committee of inquiry. “Apparently it was part of the advisory service to specifically win over public opinion for a renewed ban on short selling.” That does not cast a good light on Guttenberg’s honesty.

The Linke chairman in the committee, Fabio de Masi, can imagine summoning the former Federal Minister again: “If Mr. Guttenberg was Baron Münchhausen and had said the untruth in front of the committee of inquiry, this would also be criminally relevant, (…) the question is then whether his other statements that he had met the Chancellor privately are also untrue. “

 

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