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

Wolfgang Holzem

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Karlsruhe is a city on the Rhine in Baden-Württemberg in Germany. It is in the north of the Black Forest, close to the French border. Karlsruhe is famous in Germany for both hosting two federal courts and being a major hub for science and technology. With 300,000 people, Karlsruhe is the largest city within 60 km. It is not usually visited by tourists from abroad, but is a relaxed and pleasant city to work and study in.

Coronavirus since Reopening

Germany | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak
3,238,054
Confirmed
0
Confirmed (24h)
81,693
Deaths
0
Deaths (24h)
2.5%
Deaths (%)
2,865,000
Recovered
19,700
Recovered (24h)
291,361
Active

Understand

The city was founded in 1715 by Margrave Karl Wilhelm von Baden. The city was laid out on the drawing board. It consists of a central circle, containing the castle, and streets running towards the castle as radial “spokes”. This pattern is still visible today. Due to the fan-like layout, Karlsruhe is known as the “fan city” (Fächerstadt).

The Rhine valley, where Karlsruhe is located, is the warmest part of Germany because it is only about 115 m above sea level and there are mountains in the east (Black Forest) and west (Vogesen). Therefore, Karlsruhe has more sunny days than many other parts of Germany.

There isn’t a lot of tourist traffic to Karlsruhe. Tourists generally tend to gravitate towards the cities of Heidelberg (50 km to the north) and Freiburg (100 km to the south), with their well-preserved old towns. It’s a shame though, as Karlsruhe’s radial layout is one of the best early examples of New Urbanism, and is really a joy to explore. Maybe that’s a benefit to travelers who do venture there as the number of visitors is low enough to be sort of a novelty for the locals.

Karlsruhe is home to the two highest federal courts of Germany, the Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court) and the Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice). Because of this and other administrative facilities, Karlsruhe has a reputation as a city of civil servants.

Karlsruhe has a large and renowned technical university (KIT) as well as several other colleges. The presence of the technical university has promoted the city somewhat in the world of Free and Open Source Software: Karlsruhe was the home of LinuxTag until 2005. Karlsruhe also hosts some of the major internet companies of Germany.

The city centre is plagued by considerable construction sites for a tram subway (“Kombilösung”) that is to be completed in 2020.

Get in

By plane

    • Baden-Airpark  is the nearest local airport, about 40 km from the city. The airport is served by low-cost carrier Ryanair, which offers cheap flights to several European destinations. There is a cheap airport shuttle bus (Baden-Airport-Express) (leaving 8 times a day on weekdays but no buses on weekends, synchronized with the flight schedule) to Karlsruhe Main Station. One-way-tickets can be bought from the driver (€9, cash only). Alternatively, you can take a bus to Rastatt (lines 234 und X34) or Baden-Baden (line 285), and from there take a connecting train or a tram-train to Karlsruhe. This connection is part of the Karlsruher Verkehrsverbund (KVV), the public transport provider for the region, and through-ticketing is available.
    • Frankfurt Airport  is Germany’s biggest airport and is served by all major carriers that operate in Germany. It has a direct ICE high speed train connection to Karlsruhe (1 hour).
    • Stuttgart Airport  is reachable by train in one and a half hours.

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By train

  • Karlsruhe HauptbahnhofThe main train station is located south of the city centre, with roughly 5–10 minutes by tram to the central market square, and direct tram links to other parts of the city. Karlsruhe is well linked to other larger cities by ICE high-speed trains. The schedules for the inter-city connections can be found on the site of Deutsche Bahn (German railways). There are also direct links to Paris and Marseille by French TGV high-speed trains.

By car

Karlsruhe has several exits from the A5 autobahn, approximately 130 km south of Frankfurt. The autobahn A8 joins the A5 just south of the city, connecting to Stuttgart 80 km east.

By bus

The bus station is at the south entrance of the train station. You can buy tickets for a couple of international destinations inside the train station.

Travel by bicycle in Karlsruhe

There are long-distance cycle routes connecting Karlsruhe with the surrounding cities, such as Heidelberg and Pforzheim. It is especially convenient travelling along the Upper Rhine Plain between the cities of Mainz and Basel.

Get aroun

On foot

A lot to see in Karlsruhe is along Kaiserstraße. Because all the streets radiate outward, Marktplatz (market square) is a great place to start a walking tour of the city. If you go up or down Kaiserstraße, you will find a great variety of shops and restaurants on both sides of the streets. If you go towards the Palace (right in front of you if you’re on Marktplatz), you can visit the city museum inside the castle, or the park right behind it, where the people of Karlsruhe congregate to picnic, play sports, and relax on nice days. Go farther and you can take a walk into “Hardtwald” forest which has a lot of trails right near the city center. Go south from Marktplatz and you will soon come upon “Ettlinger Tor” shopping mall and “Staatstheater” theatre. Exploring on foot allows you the opportunity to go down the alleys and smaller streets in Karlsruhe where you can find a wonderful variety of shops, kneipes, and restaurants.

By public transport

Karlsruhe has an excellent public transport system called Karlsruher Verkehrsverbund (KVV) (Karlsruhe Area Mass Transit Authority). It is mostly built on tram-trains (Stadtbahn). This allows trains to run on tram tracks within the city or on railway tracks to serve the surrounding region. An overview of the entire transport network can be downloaded here Liniennetzplan Schiene.

A single ticket for a trip within the city limits costs €2.50 for adults, €1.40 for kids. A day ticket (valid until 06:00 the next day) for one person costs €6.40 (Citysolo) and for up to 5 persons €10.60 (Cityplus).

Most tickets have to be stamped upon entering a tram and controllers are quite frequent. In particular, for longer distances outside of Karlsruhe buying the right ticket can be a bit challenging, but in front of the main train station as well as at Marktplatz, you will find a KVV office that will be happy to assist you.

Trains operate late into the night, in particular on weekends, but almost every line stops for a few hours every night. Schedules and maps are posted on virtually every station.

Travel by bicycle in Karlsruhe

During the summer, spring and autumn rental bikes are available throughout the city from the service Call a bike. A mobile phone is used to rent a bike and it can be ‘returned’ (again, using the mobile phone) at any inner city corner. Renting a bike costs no more than €0.08/min or €9.00/day.

What to see and do

A list of museums can be found on the city homepage. The city lists Karlsruhe’s cultural heritage in a database.

  • Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (ZKM) (Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie), Lorenzstraße 19.  W-F 10:00-18:00, Sa Su holidays 11:00-18:00 (opening hours vary according to exhibitions)ZKM is devoted to interactive and ‘media art’. The museum is quite unique, and the exhibitions are world-class. The ZKM also hosts many cultural events, check their home page for the schedule. The same complex also hosts the Museum für Neue Kunst (Museum for New Art) and the city gallery.
  • Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe (Art Hall of the State), Hans-Thoma-Straße 2 – 6.  Tu-F 10:00-17:00, Sa Su holidays 10:00-18:00This museum shows mainly classical paintings from the 16th century on.
  • Karlsruhe Palace (Schloss Karlsruhe) (directly north of the city center). The palace is directly north of the city center, a 2-min walk on foot from the Marktplatz. The palace was rebuilt after World War II, and now hosts the Badisches Landesmuseum.
    • Badisches LandesmuseumTu-Th 10:00-17:00, F-Su and holidays 10:00-18:00, special exhibitions Tu-Su 10:00-18:00The palace hosts the Badisches Landesmuseum, a museum dedicated to historical exhibitions and local interest. There are also special exhibitions from time to time. Adults €4.
    • Palace Garden (Schlosspark). North of the palace is a vast park area, the palace garden, where the locals hang out on summer days. On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays during the summer season you can also take a ride on the small train that runs through the gardens. Steam trains usually run on Sundays while dieselpowered trains operate on Saturdays. Entry to the gardens is free.
  • Karlsruhe Pyramid (on the Marktplatz). The emblem of the city. It marks the place where Karl Wilhelm was buried, and is somewhat unremarkable.
  • Karlsruhe Zoo (Zoologischer Stadtgarten Karlsruhe) (near the main station). Opening hours vary throughout the year, but the main entrance is open at least daily 09:00-16:00, and longer in the summer months. The other entrances have shorter hours, check on the web pageThe zoo is moderately large, and does have some special attractions. In the Zoo, there is an artificial mountain (the Lauterberg), and a memorial for the 49° N parallel. You can also ride small boats (“gondolettas”) in the lake. A so-called water organ (music and fountains) plays every 30 minutes. Adults €6.50, children (6-15 years) €3.
  • State Museum of Natural History Karlsruhe (Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Karlsruhe), Erbprinzenstraße 13 (very close to Marktplatz).  Here can be found lots of interesting animals also plants. Ideal to see with children.
  • Baden Art Association (Badischer Kunstverein), Waldstraße 3.  Tu-Fr 11:00-19:00, Saturday to Sunday and holidays 11:00-17:00, Mo closedThe second-oldest art association in Germany, founded in Karlsruhe in 1818. Its focus is on contemporary art exhibitions and events (for example lectures, movies, guided tours). Adults €3, reduced €1.50.
  • Bauhaus-Siedlung DammerstockThe suburb Dammerstock has a residential area in the Bauhaus style, planned i.a. by the renowned architect Walter Gropius.
  • Durlach. Now a part of Karlsruhe, it is much older (first mentioned in the 12th century) than Karlsruhe itself and has a charming medieval town-center. It can be easily reached by tram 1 in a quarter of an hour. A word of advice: calling an inhabitant of Durlach a “Karlsruher” is asking for trouble. From the Turmberg (tower hill), you have a nice view over the city and the Rhine valley.
  • Kombilösung. This controversial project refers to the combination of a tram tunnel in Kaiserstraße and a road tunnel in Kriegsstraße, allegedly the solution (Lösung) for public transport capacity problems in Karlsruhe. There is an information pavillon near the Staatstheater, and in the coming years there will be lots of construction in the city. Not a sight as such, but interesting for public transport geeks.

What to do

Court Pharmacy (Hof-Apotheke), Kaiserstraße 201, the oldest pharmacy in Karlsruhe and an early building by the Art Nouveau architect Hermann Billing (1867-1946), a native of the city

  • Badisches Staatstheater KarlsruheHermann-Levi-Platz 1.  The biggest theatre and opera house in the city. Your ticket entitles you to use public transportation within the entire KVV to get to the theatre and back on the day of the performance (and until 03:00 the next day). 
  • There are various smaller theatres. A list can be found on the city homepage.
  • WildparkstadionThe stadium where the Karlsruher Sport Club (KSC) plays all of their home games. If you are in Karlsruhe in the Fall or Spring, during the Bundesliga season, you should try to catch a KSC game during the weekend. KSC fans, including the “Ultras”, are some of the loudest and most passionate fans in all of German football, and definitely make the experience a good one. To really get in the action purchase a ticket in the ‘Stehplatz’ (Standing section) and try to buy early, as these are very popular events and the tickets go quickly! 
  • Go cycling. The city has developed a 20 point plan to become the cycling city in Germany. Many bike lanes and good direction signs for cyclicts are a visible mark. However, the activists of VCD and ADFC will be able to point out weaknesses and dangerous spots.
  • There are several man-made lakes in towns around (10–20 km) Karlsruhe, e.g. Epplesee in Rheinstetten (no BBQ allowed!) and in Weingarten and Untergrombach. Going by bike is a flat one-hour trip by bicycle, and swimming combined with a barbecue is a nice thing on a hot summer day.

Cinemas

The Schauburg and the Kino im Prinz-Max-Palais are independent cinemas which occasional show movies in their original language. The other cinemas tend to stick to the usual German-dubbed fare.

  • SchauburgMarienstraße 16.
  • 4 Kino im Prinz-Max-PalaisKarlstr. 10+49 721 9374714.

Annual events

  • Das FestIn JulyKarlsruhe’s most famous yearly event taking place on a weekend in July in the Günther-Klotz Anlage (a suburban park) with about 200,000 spectators: An open-air festival comprising live music of various genres on multiple stages, presenting a mixture of world-class local and national artists. Attendance is €5 per day for the main stage, but other stages are free. Tickets are usually sold out about one month in advance.
  • African Summer FestivalIn JulyAfrican culture in Karlsruhe’s Nordstadt. Markets, drumming workshops, exhibitions, a varied children’s programme and musical performances take place during the three days, the aim being enjoyment for the whole family.
  • Schloss in FlammenIn JulyA music and fireworks performance in front of the palace. Tickets are quite expensive.
  • KAMUNA (Karlsruhe Night of Museums). In AugustOnce a year many museums in Karlsruhe cooperate to remain open until late into the night, hosting talks, workshops and rallys. The night usually ends with a live concert as the closing event. Special KAMUNA buttons are sold that allow for entrance in all participating museums and are also a ticket for the public transport. On the day of the KAMUNA the schedule of public transport is changed to allow the visitors to get home easily. KAMUNA is very popular in Karlsruhe and many people are attending.
  • Medieval SpectaculumIn AugustMedieval themed event with a market, games, music, knights in armor, magicians, fire show, etc. in the area around the Karlsruhe palace.

Eat

What to eat (if you want to try something typical):

  • Flammkuchen: The South-West German variant on pizza. The base is very thin and crispy and usually rectangular rather than circular. The traditional topping (some purists would say the only legitimate one) is cream cheese, onions, and bacon, but there are many variants (in particular some very tasty sweet ones that come flambéed). Just order one after the other (they get cold very fast), always sharing each one with everyone on the table.
  • Käsespätzle: a special kind of pasta in a heavy cheese sauce.
  • Gebratene Maultaschen: kind of like Ravioli, but much larger and fried with onions. May sound strange, but you really can’t do much wrong with these.
  • Wurstsalat: Sausage Salad; well, its Germany after all. Comes with bread and is really quite tasty.
  • Hackepeter: Raw minced meat with fresh onions and bread. You don’t get this very often (but for example at Vogelbräu).
  • Yufka Döner: A kind of döner but a wrap is used instead of proper bread. Sold in dozens of places it is probably the cheapest way to get a complete meal.

Where to eat:

  • ViVA RestaurantLammstraße 7a.  Offers vegetarian and vegan food in the city center.
  • ShogunZähringerstraße 96A good place to eat sushi.
  • Pizzahaus is an Italian restaurant with good pizza. (Rintheimer Straße 2)
  • Vogelbräu KarlsruheKapellenstraße 50.  Open dailyA beer garden, restaurant and brewery. You get good beer and German food here, really a nice place for lunch, dinner or drinking. There are two more ‘Vogelbräu’ restaurants in the nearby towns of Ettlingen and Durlach.
  • LitfaßKreuzstraße 10A restaurant in the heart of Karlsruhe that offers a good variety of regional specialties including Maultaschen, Käsespätzle, and a pretty tasty Jägerschnitzel.
  • Café Bleu, Café EmailleTwo restaurants owned by the same purveyor that runs “Die Kippe”. Both have the same menu as Die Kippe, but different atmospheres. (Bleu is at Kaiserallee 11 and Emaille at Kaiserstraße 142) All three restaurants are as described above, and always a nice place to grab breakfast, a drink with friends, or a quick meal without breaking the bank.
  • Dean&DavidKaiserstraße 223aA very modern franchise restaurant that strives to offer healthy fast-food from fresh ingredients. It offers mostly curries, soups and a large selection of salads.
  • StövchenWaldstraße 54.  A great place to try Flammkuchen and relax with a cocktail or two. The name means little oven.
  • Panda, Scheffelstraße 2 (on the crossroads between Kaiserallee and Scheffelstraße), is a food stall serving authentic Chinese food at about €6 per meal.

Drink

Like other cities in Germany, Karlsruhe has a few regional brands of beer, of which Hoepfner is the most famous. It is also worth exploring the microbreweries scattered around the city, such as the Vogelbräu, Wolf Brauerei and the Badische Brauhaus, all of which have seasonal specialities.

  • Badisch BrauhausStephanienstraße 38-40.  A very large multi-story beer garden, brewery and restaurant. On its uppermost floor is a cocktail bar; probably the nicest place in Karlsruhe for cocktails (although on weekends it can be difficult to get a seat and service can be slow).
  • Hoepfner BurghofHaid-und-Neu-Straße 18.  Brewery and beer garden.
  • Alter BrauhofBeiertheimer Allee 18aA nice place to sit outside and have a beer (only a good place in summer), also offers decent food. Its not so well known, so you stand a good chance of finding a nice place even on a nice summer evening even on weekends.
  • Z-10Zähringerstraße 10.  A bar run by local university students that is frequented by the Karlsruhe’s student population. There are several local beers offered here for very cheap (think €1-1.50) and also decent cocktails. Bands are frequently playing on Saturdays (no entry fee) and visitors can play cards, board games and table soccer with other patrons. Check the website for hours as the bar is generally only open when school is in session.
  • Scruffy’sKarlstraße 4 (across from the Europaplatz).  Scruffy’s is Karlsruhe’s best Irish Pub. The interior of the bar is reminiscent of the hold of an old ship and is a comfortable environment. There are a variety of beers and whiskeys, as well as good Irish music every week. Often the owner’s band will play, always a treat. The bartenders and some of the patrons are native English speakers, so it’s a good place to let the tourist’s brain relax after speaking a lot of German! Just make sure you keep a good count on how many beers you order – the owner occasionally miscounts.
  • DorfschänkeAm Künstlerhaus 33.  The Dorfschänke is Karlsruhe’s oldest Kneipe, and a good place to meet up with people. With the normal selection of beers and drinks, this is also a good place to see bands or to watch soccer outside during the summer. There is also a fairly popular “Kicker” (or Foos-ball) table inside where you can pick up a game or two. Be prepared to pay cover on nights when bands are playing.
  • AgosteaA nice but pricy club near the Kronenplatz with 2 dancefloors.
  • Leonardo’s Expresso BarZaehringerstraßeThere you can enjoy original Italian coffee, good cocktails and also a lot of wines. The bar is a smoker bar with a separated room where you can smoke cigars. The bar is also offering many cigars from around the world. The prices are okay. The personnel speak English. The Leonard, or also called Leo is one of the political Bars in Karlsruhe. High ranking officials from the City, the Courts, the University and the Party are there often seen.

Buy

Most shops are located in the pedestrian zone in the Kaiserstraße. At Ludwigsplatz, near Kaiserstraße, there are various open-air cafes where the shopper can relax. Some of the more expensive boutiques and shoe shops are also located in this area.

In the south of the Marktplatz, at the end of the pedestrian zone, is a big shopping mall called “Ettlinger Tor”. Definitely an alternative to the Kaiserstraße, especially when the weather is bad.

Where to stay in Karlsruhe

Budget

  • DJH Youth Hostel KarlsruheMoltkestraße 24.  Requires membership in their hostelling organization.
  • A&O Karlsruhe HauptbahnhofBahnhofsplatz 14-16.  Hostel
  • Hotel Garni BetzlerAmalienstraße 3.
  • Bed & Breakfast in Karlsruhe DurlachAm Steinbruch 1.  Two furnished guestrooms for 1-3 guests in one of Karlsruhe’s historical districts. From €25 per person.

Mid-range

  • Hotel Alfa Karlsruhe-CityBlumenstraße 17.
  • Art Hotel RoyalKriegsstraße 94.

Splurge

  • Schlosshotel KarlsruheBahnhofplatz 2.
  • Novotel Karlsruhe CityFestplatz 2.

Hotels Karlsruhe: Popularity

Hotel Stars Discount Price before and discount Select dates
Novotel Karlsruhe City ★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Hotel Rio ★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Hotel Newton Karlsruhe ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
ibis Karlsruhe Hauptbahnhof ★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Hotel Aviva ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Leonardo Hotel Karlsruhe ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Hotel Elite ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Star Inn Hotel Karlsruhe Siemensallee, by Comfort View Isaan Hotel Deals
Kaiserhof ★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Holiday Inn Express Karlsruhe - City Park, an IHG hotel ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Schlosshotel Karlsruhe ★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Hotel Der Blaue Reiter ★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Hotel Santo ★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Hotel Ambassador ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Centro Hotel Blankenburg by INA View Isaan Hotel Deals
Hotel Am Markt ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
B&B Hotel Karlsruhe ★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Hotel Barbarossa ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Hotel Beim Schupi Karlsruhe ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Hotel Hoepfner Burghof ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals

Stay safe in Karlsruhe

Karlsruhe is maybe one of the safest cities in Germany especially the centre of the town. There are a lot of policemen walking and driving around, mainly because of the important courts. Maybe some suburbs should be avoided at night (Oberreut, Neureut and Daxlanden (not really)), but otherwise, one will feel safe in this city.

Telecommunications in Karlsruhe

  • Thalia – A bookstore in the main shopping street (Kaiserstraße 167) has some internet terminals in the uppermost floor
  • Gelbe Seiten – This quite stylish bar/cafe close to Ettlinger Tor (Karl-Friedrich-Straße 22) has free WLAN, one internet computer; offers a nice selection of drinks&cocktails and some simple food.
  • Kaffee Schiller – Has free WLAN and a few computers to use. You also get good coffee, cakes and some simple (but good) food. Its close to the main shopping street and the university. (Kronenstr.30)
  • An extensive (but German) list of further locations can be found here.

Cope

Religious services

  • Unsere Liebe Frau, Marienstr. 80 (from central station 800 m direction Nordeast). Su 10:15; Tu 15:00; Th-F 18:30
  • St. Michael, Barbarossaplatz (from central station 1000 m direction west). Sa 18:00; Su 11:15, 16:00 (Croat.); Tu 08:00; W 07:45; Th 18:00
  • St. Elisabeth, Südendstraße 39 (from central station 1400 m direction nordwest). Su 09:45; Tu 18:00; W 07:45; Th 18:00
  • Deutschsprachiger Muslimkreis (German-speaking Muslim circle), Kaiserpassage 10 (from central station 1400 m direction center).
  • Chabad of Karlsruhe Jewish Synagogue and Center that holds services on Friday nights (varying times), Saturday mornings and on Jewish holidays 10:00.

Go next

  • Ettlingen — the neighboring town
  • Bertha Benz Memorial Route — follow the tracks of the world’s first automobile journey (Mannheim – Pforzheim/Black Forest – Mannheim) back in 1888, leading right through Karlsruhe-Grötzingen
  • Baden-Baden
  • Heidelberg
  • Stuttgart
  • Freiburg
  • Paris — the French TGV high speed train gets you there in as little as 2 hours and 31 minutes

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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Germany

Wirecard Scandal claims another Victim – Heike Pauls from Commerzbank

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heike paul

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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