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Report: BND admits payments processed via Wirecard

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The Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is said to have processed payments totaling 22,000 euros via the scandal-ridden and insolvent payment service provider Wirecard. That emerges from a message from the federal government, which is currently in the secret protection office of the Bundestag, writes that Handelsblatt citing insiders. Details about the type of payments and the recipients remained open.

“The information confirms the long suspected connection between the BND and Wirecard,” said Lisa Paus, financial expert in the Green parliamentary group, compared to the business newspaper. “It shows once again how interesting Wirecard must have been for secret services. The federal government is stonewalling in the investigation. The investigative committee must finally shed light on the darkness.”

In particular, ex-board member Jan Marsalek, who was on the run and wanted by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), is said to have repeatedly boasted of his secret service contacts to business partners. His current whereabouts are unknown, according to the Handelsblatt, he is near Moscow under the care of the Russian foreign intelligence service SWR. On the day of his release in June, he is said to have left for Russia via Vienna. That is not confirmed. An alleged entry into the Philippines turned out to be a deliberately false track.

Marsalek is said, among other things, to have tried to acquire software from the spyware provider Hacking Team. He should also Obtained documents from the Austrian constitution protection and passed it on to the right-wing FPÖ. He is also said to have passed on secret OPCW documents on the Skripal case and to have been interested in establishing an armed militia in Lebanon.

Whether and to what extent Marsalek and Wirecard maintained contact with German intelligence circles should also be the subject of the committee of inquiry, which will meet on Thursday for its constituent session in the Bundestag.

The now insolvent Dax group Wirecard had granted air bookings of 1.9 billion euros in the summer. As a service provider for cashless payments at checkouts and on the Internet, the company sat at the interface between merchants and credit card companies. According to the current status of the investigation, Wirecard made losses for years. The Munich public prosecutor’s office assumes that the company has shown fake profits since 2015. More than three billion euros could be lost. The Bafin and a private auditing company are criticized in the case.

On Wednesday, Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz presented the consequences the federal government wants to draw from the scandal. The federal government was working flat out to come to terms with the scandal, emphasized Scholz. Weak points in balance sheet control are to be eliminated, loopholes closed and complex international company structures controlled more effectively. The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bafin) is to get more powers. “We want more bite for the Bafin,” said Scholz.

Several measures are to be presented as laws to the cabinet and the Bundestag in the coming weeks: For example, the Bafin should in future be directly responsible for checking listed companies in suspected cases. Furthermore, the auditors of capital market companies are to change every ten years. The examiners should be made more liable. The criminal offense of “false balance sheet oath” should also be created and the private financial transactions of Bafin employees should be severely restricted in the future.

Representatives of the opposition, but also of the coalition partner Union, were disappointed with the proposals. The action plan offers “little more than the announcement to examine this or that,” said Danyal Bayaz, who will sit on the Wirecard committee of inquiry for the Greens. “Olaf Scholz tries to act as a great enlightener in the production by pretending to be busy exactly one day before the committee of inquiry begins.”