Fraud case: trial against ex-Wirecard boss Braun is to begin soon

In the largest fraud case in German post-war history, the criminal trial against former Wirecard CEO Markus Braun will begin shortly.

Fraud case: trial against ex-Wirecard boss Braun is to begin soon

In the largest fraud case in German post-war history, the criminal trial against former Wirecard CEO Markus Braun will begin shortly. This was announced by the Munich Higher Regional Court.

The Munich I Regional Court has therefore allowed the Munich public prosecutor's office to charge Braun and two other former Wirecard managers unchanged. The main accusation against the businessmen is commercial gang fraud. Braun has been in custody since July 22, 2020.

The Higher Regional Court did not give any details. It was initially unclear on which day the trial should begin, how many witnesses should be summoned and how many trial days the 4th criminal division of the district court wanted to schedule.

Braun sees himself as a victim of criminal activities

The possible maximum penalty for particularly serious cases of fraud is ten years imprisonment. A conviction requires that the accused acted with full intention - there is no criminal offense of negligent fraud.

According to the indictment, Braun and his accomplices have falsified Wirecard's balance sheets since 2015 and damaged lending banks by a total of 3.1 billion euros - of which 1.7 billion euros in loans and a further 1.4 billion in bonds. In June 2020, the former Dax group collapsed after the audit of the annual financial statements revealed sham bookings of almost two billion euros, the money is still missing today.

The ex-CEO, who comes from Austria, had rejected the allegations of the prosecution through his lawyers. Braun sees himself as a victim of criminal activities. The “Handelsblatt” was the first to report on the admission of the indictment.

Former billionaire is financially ruined

The former billionaire Braun himself was ruined by the collapse of his company because he had invested almost his entire fortune in Wirecard shares. Not only banks and investors were harmed, but also tens of thousands of shareholders. After its rise to the Dax on the stock exchange in 2018, Wirecard was temporarily worth more than 20 billion euros, this money has evaporated.

The alleged fraud damage of more than three billion euros in absolute figures and not adjusted for inflation exceeds all cases that have become known in Germany since 1945.

The previous "record holder" was the Baden company Flowtex, which caused fraud damage of two billion euros with the sale of non-existent drilling machines in the 1990s. In the VW scandal, the follow-up costs for the Wolfsburg group were much higher at around 30 billion euros, but it was not about financial fraud.

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