Status: 26.03.2021 7:59 p.m.
In the Bundestag’s committee of inquiry into the Wirecard affair, the questioning of the BaFin top was actually the focus of the MPs today. But then a tweet from Moscow caused a stir.
At today’s meeting of the Bundestag’s committee of inquiry into the Wirecard scandal, a tweet from the Russian Foreign Ministry caused a sensation. It is also about one of the key figures in the balance sheet fraud scandal, the former Wirecard sales director Jan Marsalek, who went into hiding.
The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Sakharova, wrote on Twitter that the investigation into the bankruptcy of Wirecard in Germany in 2020 is continuing: “The speculation about the allegedly close relationship between the managing director J. Marsalek and the special services of Russia is causing confusion. We warn Germany against politicizing this story. ”
“Tweet bursts like a bomb in the deliberations”
The SPD chairman in the committee of inquiry, Jens Zimmermann, read the tweet in the committee. What exactly the Russian Foreign Ministry was referring to is unclear. In the morning a representative of the Chancellery was asked in a closed meeting whether the Chancellery knew where Marsalek was. Zimmermann told the dpa news agency: “Today’s statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry is bursting like a bomb in the deliberations of the Wirecard investigative committee.”
Connections from Jan Marsalek to Russia have long been in the room, as well as speculation about his whereabouts, said the SPD chairman. “Why the Russian government now feels compelled to take this step raises new questions. Instead of a clear rejection of possible connections, the Bundestag is apparently to be intimidated in its investigation.” The Union chairman in the investigative committee, Matthias Hauer, told the dpa: “We will certainly not be impressed by a Russian government tweet. I assume the other parliamentary groups see it the same way.”
Roegele sees no serious mistake by BaFin
Today in the Wirecard U Committee, the questioning of the outgoing top of the financial supervisory authority BaFin is on the agenda. First, the deputy head of the authorities, Elisabeth Roegele, testified before the committee. She made it clear that a particularly controversial measure by the financial supervisory authority in the Wirecard case did not see it as a serious mistake. Specifically, it is about a ban on short sales in February 2019, i.e. the ban on speculation about falling Wirecard prices. Roegele said she took responsibility for this measure. But you could not understand why that should have been a serious mistake.
“We were not the prosecutor’s henchmen,” said Roegele, who left BaFin at the end of April. The financial supervisory authority had received serious information from the public prosecutor that there was insider trading. The Munich public prosecutor’s office gave information from the company’s lawyers that Wirecard was being blackmailed to BaFin. Roegele said the short-selling ban was about protecting retail investors. BaFin did not check the information from the public prosecutor’s office. The Federal Ministry of Finance had been informed in advance of BaFin’s intention. The ministry saw no reason to intervene.
Statement from the outgoing BaFin boss expected
The Federal Ministry of Finance oversees BaFin. The ban on short sales plays a central role in the political clarification of the Wirecard scandal. It strengthened the impression among investors that Wirecard was the victim of a targeted attack. Short sellers speculate on falling prices for a company and often deliberately publish negative information. Wirecard had admitted a balance gap of 1.9 billion euros last summer. The alleged fraud was apparently not noticed by auditors or the financial regulator for years. BaFin is accused of having failed in the Wirecard case.
After the BaFin Vice-President, the head of the authorities, Felix Hufeld, testified before the committee that evening. Like Roegele, he will be leaving office shortly. Mark Branson, President of the Swiss Financial Market Authority FINMA, has been appointed as his successor.