Questioning of ex-Wirecard boss: Braun sees no breaches of duty

As expected, Markus Braun refused to testify when he was questioned by the investigative committee. Concrete questions in the business crime remain unanswered. The long-time CEO, who is currently in custody, has a statement ready.

Ex-Wirecard boss Markus Braun read out a statement during his testimony in the Bundestag investigation committee and also announced that he would not answer any questions from MPs. "I am currently referring to my extensive right to refuse to testify under Section 22 [2] of the PUAG," said Braun in the statement he read out at the beginning of the meeting. "That means I won't answer any more questions today."

There is an extensive preliminary investigation into the case, said the 51-year-old Austrian in Berlin. He trusts the independence and objectivity of the judiciary, in the case of the Munich public prosecutor's office, which will investigate the case. The long-standing chief executive, who is in custody in Augsburg, added that he had not yet spoken to the public prosecutor. But he had signaled his willingness to cooperate.

Among other things, Braun spoke of "embezzled company funds". However, he did not want to give more precise information about the injured parties and profiteers. He relied on his right to refuse to testify and announced that he wanted to speak to the public prosecutor "promptly". He would be ready "tomorrow" to make a statement.

"No unfair behavior from supervision and politics"

The former Wirecard boss refused any help in the political processing of the billion-dollar Wirecard accounting scandal. However, he said regulators and auditors had made no mistakes in his view.

He did not notice breaches of duty by politics and supervisory authorities. He said that he had "never made any findings or received any indications that authorities, supervisory bodies or politicians had behaved incorrectly, improperly or in any form unfairly," he said. "This also applies to the supervisory board as a controlling body and the auditors, who were apparently severely deceived in the course of the audits. Against this background, I cannot understand why external supervisory bodies that are much further away are responsible for omissions here."

Braun's lawyers had requested in advance that the business IT specialist should only be heard via video. The Federal Court of Justice had requested a personal appearance in Berlin in the Bundestag. Braun appeared in the Paul-Löbe-Haus in the Bundestag in his typical black turtleneck and jacket – but without handcuffs.

Wirecard went bankrupt in June after a billions in accounting scandal became known. The public prosecutor accuses Braun and other Wirecard managers of commercial gang fraud, falsification of accounts and market manipulation. Wirecard is said to have calculated itself for years with systematic air bookings and thus inflicted billions in damage to investors and banks. In his last public appearance so far, Braun had portrayed the company as a victim of a large-scale fraud.

Among other things, the financial supervisory authority Bafin and auditors from EY "Ernst & Young" are accused of having discovered the balance sheet irregularities at Wirecard too late. Overall, defrauded creditors reported damage to the insolvency administrator of 12.5 billion euros. You will only ever see a fraction of it.