MUNICH, Dec 12 (Reuters) – Previous Wirecard manager Markus Braun’s attorneys accused prosecutors of botching Germany’s most important submit-war fraud demo at the start off of his defence on Monday and alleged that their essential witness was in reality the key perpetrator.
Braun, 53, and two other ex-Wirecard managers Oliver Bellenhaus and Stephan von Erffa are on demo on expenses which include sector manipulation and fraud at the defunct payments corporation and could experience up to 15 yrs in prison if convicted.
Wirecard’s collapse two several years ago shook the German organization establishment, placing politicians who had backed it and regulators who took many years to investigate allegations versus the company below extreme scrutiny.
Braun has often denied wrongdoing.
The lawyer for Bellenhaus, who was head of Wirecard’s subsidiary in Dubai and turned a witness following turning himself in to German authorities in 2020, mentioned he admits accountability. The lawyer last 7 days requested for a lessened sentence and for Bellenhaus to be released from custody in recognition of his client’s co-procedure.
Von Erffa has expressed regret about the functions but his attorney on Monday denied any wrongdoing on his section.
At the start out of the trial in Munich last 7 days, prosecutors accused Braun and his co-defendants of staying element of a gang that invented wide sums of phantom income as a result of bogus transactions with associate companies to mislead lenders and investors.
They mentioned the deception allowed Wirecard’s administrators to siphon dollars out of the corporation for several years.
Braun’s attorney Alfred Dierlamm’s defence sought to puncture people statements in courtroom. He explained that Braun had in no way bought his Wirecard shares and had actually taken the initiative to call in outdoors auditors from KPMG to investigate its finances.
“It’s an unquestionably absurd and erroneous idea that a gang leader would act like this,” Dierlamm reported.
He reported prosecutors had been biased against Braun, who was arrested in 2020, including they had been less than strain to come across a offender following fellow Wirecard supervisor, Jan Marsalek, fled abroad.
Dierlamm explained that Bellenhaus, who is the prosecution’s important witness, was the primary perpetrator of fraud and questioned for the trial to be suspended to give the defence more time offered the volume of “information that had been dumped on our table” on a weekly foundation due to the fact the start out of November.
‘NOT A Essential WITNESS’
Launched in 1999 and based mostly in the Munich suburb of Aschheim, Wirecard’s spectacular rise remodeled it from a payment processor for pornography and on the net gambling to a showpiece for a new kind of German tech organization that could contend with the established titans of Europe’s greatest economic system.
Immediately after batting absent suspicions of wrongdoing from investors and journalists and effectively lobbying the German authorities to examine these who had been scrutinising its finances, Wirecard last but not least admitted in June 2020 that 1.9 billion euros ($2 billion) ended up missing from its equilibrium sheet.
Wirecard turned the first-ever member of the DAX blue chip stock index to file for insolvency, owing almost $4 billion.
Dierlamm reported Bellenhaus was not credible as the important witness in the circumstance.
“Bellenhaus is the main perpetrator of a gang whose sole intention was to siphon off and embezzle big sums of cash from Wirecard AG’s prosperity,” Braun’s law firm reported.
Von Erffa’s lawyer Sabine Stetter also said in a statement that Bellenhaus was a “dubious witness”.
Bellenhaus deleted massive quantities of e-mails, allegedly misplaced his cell phone and laptop computer and only claimed selectively to the public prosecutor, she extra.
Florian Eder, Bellenhaus’ attorney, dismissed Dierlamm’s allegations as “outrageous” and a smokescreen, questioning whether or not Bellenhaus would genuinely have stashed revenue absent overseas and only returned to Germany “to dob Dr Braun in”.
Dierlamm countered prosecution statements that no actual income flowed to Wirecard’s spouse organizations and stated the prosecution had not been comprehensive in examining evidence of payments.
“As a end result of the critical omissions in the investigative course of action, we now have a shambles in front of us,” he claimed.
A verdict is not predicted ahead of 2024 at the earliest.
Writing by Matthias Williams. Enhancing by Jane Merriman and Alexander Smith
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