Former Wirecard boss’ lawyer says prosecutors got the wrong man
MUNICH, Dec 12 (Reuters) – Former Wirecard manager Markus Braun’s attorneys accused prosecutors of botching Germany’s major submit-war fraud demo at the begin of his defence on Monday and alleged that their vital witness was in reality the most important perpetrator.
Braun, 53, and two other ex-Wirecard administrators Oliver Bellenhaus and Stephan von Erffa are on trial on charges which include market manipulation and fraud at the defunct payments business and could facial area up to 15 years in jail if convicted.
Wirecard’s collapse two yrs in the past shook the German business enterprise establishment, putting politicians who had backed it and regulators who took many years to investigate allegations from the corporation below powerful scrutiny.
Braun has always denied wrongdoing.
The attorney for Bellenhaus, who was head of Wirecard’s subsidiary in Dubai and grew to become a witness following turning himself in to German authorities in 2020, reported he admits duty. The lawyer past 7 days questioned for a minimized sentence and for Bellenhaus to be launched from custody in recognition of his client’s co-procedure.
Von Erffa has expressed regret about the gatherings but his law firm on Monday denied any wrongdoing on his aspect.
At the start of the trial in Munich very last week, prosecutors accused Braun and his co-defendants of remaining part of a gang that invented large sums of phantom revenue by way of bogus transactions with spouse companies to mislead collectors and traders.
They said the deception authorized Wirecard’s supervisors to siphon cash out of the firm for many years.
Braun’s law firm Alfred Dierlamm’s defence sought to puncture individuals claims in court docket. He explained that Braun had in no way marketed his Wirecard shares and had in fact taken the initiative to phone in outdoors auditors from KPMG to examine its funds.
“It’s an absolutely absurd and erroneous idea that a gang chief would act like this,” Dierlamm said.
He mentioned prosecutors have been biased versus Braun, who was arrested in 2020, including they had been below strain to locate a culprit just after fellow Wirecard manager, Jan Marsalek, fled abroad.
Dierlamm mentioned that Bellenhaus, who is the prosecution’s vital witness, was the major perpetrator of fraud and questioned for the demo to be suspended to give the defence much more time presented the volume of “data files that had been dumped on our desk” on a weekly foundation given that the start out of November.
‘NOT A Essential WITNESS’
Founded in 1999 and based in the Munich suburb of Aschheim, Wirecard’s amazing rise reworked it from a payment processor for pornography and online gambling to a showpiece for a new sort of German tech firm that could contend with the set up titans of Europe’s most significant economic climate.
After batting away suspicions of wrongdoing from traders and journalists and productively lobbying the German authorities to investigate those people who had been scrutinising its finances, Wirecard finally admitted in June 2020 that 1.9 billion euros ($2 billion) were being lacking from its balance sheet.
Wirecard grew to become the first-at any time member of the DAX blue chip inventory index to file for insolvency, owing virtually $4 billion.
Dierlamm explained Bellenhaus was not credible as the essential witness in the situation.
“Bellenhaus is the primary perpetrator of a gang whose sole aim was to siphon off and embezzle large sums of revenue from Wirecard AG’s wealth,” Braun’s lawyer mentioned.
Von Erffa’s law firm Sabine Stetter also reported in a statement that Bellenhaus was a “dubious witness”.
Bellenhaus deleted enormous quantities of e-mails, allegedly lost his cellular telephone and laptop and only noted selectively to the community prosecutor, she added.
Florian Eder, Bellenhaus’ lawyer, dismissed Dierlamm’s allegations as “outrageous” and a smokescreen, questioning no matter whether Bellenhaus would really have stashed cash away overseas and only returned to Germany “to dob Dr Braun in”.
Dierlamm countered prosecution claims that no genuine funds flowed to Wirecard’s companion corporations and said the prosecution experienced not been extensive in examining evidence of payments.
“As a outcome of the critical omissions in the investigative approach, we now have a shambles in entrance of us,” he stated.
A verdict is not envisioned before 2024 at the earliest.
Composing by Matthias Williams. Modifying by Jane Merriman and Alexander Smith
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