FinTech Podcast #311

In the Bundestag, a committee of inquiry is trying to clear up what is probably the biggest case of fraud in post-war history. It’s about losses in the billions, massive damages for investors and the unprecedented crash of a stock market star. The interim assessment of several parliamentary groups, which last met on Wednesday, is devastating: The scandal around Wirecard is not only due to high criminal energy of individuals, but also to serious mistakes of supervisory authorities and the Federal Government.

Fabio De Masi, Danyal Bayaz and Florian Toncar Source: Handelsblatt

All six political groups believe that the committee has uncovered important connections. “All in all, one thing is disproved: That this was a natural disaster, that no human being made a mistake here,” said FDP finance politician Florian Toncar, for example. His colleague from the Greens, Danyal Bayaz, assumes that three factors were decisive for the alleged fraud: “a gang with a high level of criminal imagination and energy”, a “collective failure” on the part of the authorities and supervisory bodies, as well as a whole army of lobbyists “who went door to door to get the image of this technology star across to men, women and politicians”.

Wirecard was a service provider for cashless payments at the interface between merchants and credit card companies. The fintech played in the top stock market league and apparently deceived auditors for years. In the summer, Wirecard admitted to a balance sheet hole of 1.9 billion euros – money from foreign transactions that appeared on the balance sheets but probably never existed in reality. The company filed for bankruptcy, thousands of investors lost money. CEO Markus Braun was arrested, manager Jan Marsalek is on the run.

However, there had been indications and reports of irregularities at Wirecard months before the scandal became known. The investigative committee now wants to find out why the case did not come to light for years and whether Wirecard, as an up-and-coming fintech, was handled with kid gloves by the authorities.

Together with Florian Toncar, Jochen and André talk about his role in the investigative committee so far, how it came together, what the most important findings are, what the work with witnessesand experts has been like so far, how regulation must take place in the future and what all this means for Germany as a financial/fintech location? A really interesting and insightful talk about the background of Germany’s biggest financial scandal.

Dr. Florian Toncar (* 18 October 1979 in Hamburg) is a German politician (FDP) and lawyer. He was a member of the German Bundestag from 2005 to 2013 and has been again since 2017.Toncar joined the FDP in 1998. From 1998 to 2014, the belonged to the FDP district executive Böblingen and from 2003 to 2011 and again since 2015 to the FDP district executive Stuttgart region. From 2003 to 2006 he was state chairman of the Young Liberals in Baden-Württemberg. From 2008 to 2014 he was chairman of the Böblingen FDP district association and from 2009 to 2014 a district councillor in the Böblingen district and from 2009 to 2011 deputy district chairman of the Stuttgart Region FDP district association. In 2011, he was elected deputy state chairman of the Baden-Württemberg FDP. He held this office until November 2, 2013. Toncar was a member of the FDP’s platform commission from 2010 to 2012. He was also a member of the Programme Commission for the 2013 Bundestag elections and for the 2019 European elections. Since 2017, he has been chairman of the state committee for domestic and legal policy of the FDP Baden-Württemberg. At the 71st ordinary federal party conference, on 19 September 2020, Toncar was re-elected as an assessor to the federal executive committee of the Free Democrats).

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