The Story of Wirecard’s Rise and Fall

The Financial Times put together a detailed timeline of Wirecard’s history as they rose to be considered one of the top fintechs in Europe while always battle allegations of fraud; the company was born towards the end of the dotcom boom and almost went bust in the early 2000’s; Markus Braun, a former KPMG consultant, took over as chief executive and merged Wirecard with a Munich rival, Electronic Business Systems; the company went public in 2005 by taking over the listing of a call center group, this path to a public listing helped them to avoid the normal scrutiny of an IPO; the company was first accused of balance sheet irregularities back in 2008 when the head of a German shareholder association published an attack on Wirecard; the company raised €500mn between 2011 and 2014, their goal was to be an international brand; in 2015 FT Alphaville published House of Wirecard, a series of posts raising questions about Wirecard’s accounts and pointing to what they found to be a €250mn hole in the firm’s balance sheet; after anonymous short sellers publish allegations of money laundering in 2016 the group receives a clean audit from EY in 2017 which helps to renew investor interest in the company; between 2017 and the news of this week the company was found to be working with non existent partners in Asia and even tried to sue the FT; the full timeline gives a more detailed account of the rise and fall of the company and how the warning signs existed for quite some time. Financial Times (free to all).

  • Todd Anderson

    Todd is the host of PitchIt: the fintech startups podcast, a weekly interview show featuring emerging fintech founders and leading venture capitalists. He is responsible for leading the content team which covers fintech through daily & weekly email newsletters, editorial, virtual events, and in-person conferences. He has been covering fintech, banking, and venture capital for more than 15 years, including speaking regularly at industry events.