Two years after the Wirecard scandal, a drawn-out lawsuit against Marcus Braun, its former CEO, is brewing.

In March 2020, as Wirecard struggled to convince the world that its business was not based on fraud, George-Alexander Trümper, the company’s general counsel, stumbled upon what he considered a major problem.

CEO Markus Braun and other executives of the German payments company [Wirecard garantissait les règlements en ligne, assurant aux commerçants qu’ils seraient payés] were looking for a way to avoid reflecting on their accounts a loan of 100 million euros, provided on dubious terms to a small partner firm. For George-Alexander Trumper, this was illegal. So he and his team warned Marcus Braun and other executives that repaying the loan was a breach of their fiduciary duties.

“I bet a case of champagne that they’ll take the risk anyway” whether he texted a colleague in an instant message that Financial Times was able to read, adding, about Marcus Braun: “MB always says he still has one foot in jail.”

Two years later, after a high-profile scandal that discredited the country’s banks, investment funds, regulators, auditors and the police, the words of George-Alexander Trumper turned out to be prophetic.

Facts punishable by fifteen years in prison

On March 10, prosecutors charged Marcus Brown with fraud, breach of trust, account fraud and market manipulation, punishable by up to fifteen years in prison. The circumstances of the granting of the loan, of course, should be included in criminal proceedings. To his lawyers, Marcus Braun is innocent.

Marcus Braun changed his life as a billionaire by flying private jet from one residence to another between Saint-Tropez and Kitzbühel. [station de ski huppée en Autriche]Vienna and Munich, for the cell of the Bavarian prison 9 m2. Released on bail in June 2020, he was re-arrested in July due to the risk of absconding. During the pandemic, the 53-year-old was not allowed to receive visitors and was sometimes only allowed two hours of private phone calls per month.

For anyone not connected with the “Dr. Brown” case, as his subordinates used to call the CEO, the case may seem settled. Wirecard, valued at its peak at €24 billion, found itself insolvent in June 2020 with over €3 billion in debt. The Austrian, who joined the company in 2002 after working at KPMG and rose to the rank of CEO and largest shareholder, was the figurehead of this payments company, which for years deceived auditors with false documents, fired journalists. [tout particulièrement ceux du Financial Times, qui, le premier, a enquêté sur l’affaire] and critical investors, suppressed internal investigations and fired whistleblowers.

However, if the reason for the collapse of Wirecard is clear – half of the group’s turnover and 1.9 billion euros of cash on its balance sheet were fictitious – then there is less evidence against Marcus Braun.

20 researchers, 25 countries, 450 interviews

In Munich, a team of more than 20 judges and police spent twenty-one months combing through the elements of this complex scandal involving dozens of suspects and companies in about 25 countries, including Singapore, the Philippines, Mauritius, Belarus and Russia. Law enforcement agencies in Germany conducted 450 interrogations of witnesses and suspects, searched 40 sites and sent 90 requests for cooperation to their foreign counterparts. The indictment against Marcus Braun, which was filed in the regional court without being made public, is 474 pages long.

However, according to a person close to the prosecution, all these documents would not allow revealing clear signs of his guilt. In court, Marcus Braun must prove that he is not the instigator of the fraud, of which he also became a victim.