[“Wirecard: Auditors’ supervisory authority investigates against EY”]

[“EY is heavily criticized because the auditors certified Wirecard’s balance sheet for years. Now, the auditors’ supervisory body Apas is reviewing the case. “]
[“In the Wirecard scandal, the auditors’ supervisory authority is investigating the company EY. This has been confirmed by the Federal Ministry of Economics. Earlier, the Handelsblatt had reported about it. The Ministry has now announced that the Auditor Oversight Agency (Apas) has the statutory mandate to examine the compliance of auditors with their professional obligations at companies of public interest, which includes Wirecard AG.”]

In the Wirecard case, Apas had initiated preliminary investigation proceedings in October 2019. It was transferred to formal professional supervision proceedings in May 2020 after a report by the auditing company KPMG had been published, the Ministry said. According to the ministry, these proceedings are still ongoing.

According to Handelsblatt, Apas will examine all annual and consolidated financial statement audits by EY at Wirecard from 2015 onwards to determine whether legal and professional requirements have been complied with. In the event of breaches of duty, Apas has far-reaching sanction options, including exclusion from the profession.

EY has been severely criticized because for years the auditors certified Wirecard\’s balance sheet to be correct. The payment service provider had filed for insolvency at the end of June. Prior to this, the company had had to admit that funds of 1.9 billion euros listed in the balance sheet, which were supposed to be stored in Asian bank accounts, could not be found. EY itself had stated that there were clear indications of “extensive fraud” in which several parties around the world were involved with the intention of deliberate deception.

After the review became known, EY announced: “We support all official investigations in the Wirecard case and cooperate fully with all competent authorities and supervisory bodies”. EY had discovered counterfeits during the audit of the financial statements for the 2019 fiscal year and notified the competent authorities of this.

[“The Munich public prosecutor’s office is now investigating the case. They are assuming that the crime is commercial gang fraud, and several high-ranking ex-managers are being held on remand. The scandal is also politically explosive: Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz (SPD), who is in charge of the banking supervision Bafin, and Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU), who is in charge of the accounting firms, had to answer questions to the Finance Committee of the Bundestag last week. A committee of inquiry is also under discussion, which is likely to be inconvenient for Scholz as the SPD’s possible future candidate for chancellor during the election campaign.”]

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