Ben Knight, 23 April 2021
The German chancellor has appeared at a parliamentary inquiry to defend her decision to lobby on behalf of the disgraced banking firm Wirecard in China. The scandal is one of Germany’s biggest ever fraud cases.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has told the German Bundestag that there was no reason to believe that Wirecard was committing fraud in 2019, when she lobbied on behalf of the now insolvent Bavarian company during an official trip to China.
“Despite the press reports, there was no reason to assume there were serious irregularities at Wirecard at the time,” she told a parliamentary inquiry during a hearing on Friday.
Merkel has become the fourth senior government politician to be questioned by the cross-party committee of parliamentarians since last year, when it emerged that there was a €1.9 billion ($2.3 billion) hole in the former DAX-listed company’s finances.
CEO Markus Braun remains in custody, accused of fraud, market manipulation, and money-laundering, while COO Jan Marsalek has gone into hiding, reportedly in Belarus, and is now on Europol’s wanted list. Investors in the company are thought to have lost most of their money.