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Ex-CEO of Wirecard and other executives charged with fraud by German prosecutors

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By AP  with Euronews
The collapse of Wirecard sent shockwaves across Germany's financial sector in 2020.
The collapse of Wirecard sent shockwaves across Germany's financial sector in 2020.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File

German prosecutors have charged the former CEO of financial company Wirecard with fraud and false accounting.

Markus Braun and two other former Wirecard managers face allegations over the firm’s collapse last year amid claims that much of its revenue and assets were faked.

Prosecutors in Munich said on Monday that Braun signed off on financial reports he knew were false. The fraud cost banks an estimated €3.1 billion in loans and writedowns, according to a statement.

The firm’s former head of accounting and the managing director of a Dubai-based subsidiary were also charged.

One of the central figures in the case, the company’s former chief operating officer Jan Marsalek, is still being sought by authorities, prosecutors said.

Braun’s attorney said the charges were “seriously flawed” and “assumed a false picture of the facts,” according to the German DPA news agency.

Wirecard grew rapidly and was among Germany’s top payments companies before the firm filed insolvency proceedings in 2020, saying €1.9 billion euros that had been on its balance sheet could not be found.

The collapse was described by the German government as "the biggest financial scandal" ever to hit the country.

A court will now decide if Braun and the two other former executives will face trial.