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German ministers face grilling over Wirecard collapse

Finance Minister Scholz and Altmaier (Economy) to attend meeting

29 July, 14:31
(ANSA-AFP) - FRANKFURT AM MAIN, 29 JUL - Germany's finance and economy ministers will be grilled by lawmakers on Wednesday about the massive fraud scandal that brought down payments provider Wirecard, amid criticism that authorities missed early warning signs. Wirecard filed for insolvency last month after admitting that 1.9 billion euros ($2.2 billion) missing from its accounts did not exist. Former CEO Markus Braun has been arrested on suspicion of falsifying accounts and market manipulation. The Wirecard revelations have stunned Germany, drawing comparisons with the Enron accounting scandal in the United States almost two decades ago. Germany's parliamentary finance committee has asked Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Economy Minister Peter Altmaier to attend a closed door special hearing to shed light on the saga from 1400 GMT. Questions are likely to focus on when exactly the government and regulators learned of accounting irregularities at Wirecard, what action they took and whether there were any regulatory failings. Both ministers have vowed full transparency in a case that Scholz has called "an unparalleled scandal" and a blow to Germany's finance reputation. He has vowed to reform German finance watchdog Bafin, accused by critics of having been too lax in its oversight of Wirecard, by giving it greater powers to intervene and launch investigations. (ANSA-AFP). (ANSA).

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