The Weird, Extremely German Origins of the Wirecard Scandal
Adrian Daub, 21 April 2021
German scandals are not like other scandals. The bouquet of a classic German scandal contains unmistakable notes: a rabbit-hole impenetrability, the implication of an entire guilt-ridden society, and, most importantly, a sense that the controversy says something essential about Germany as a whole. German scandals are collectivized. They are about a belief in German difference, for good or ill.
The rise and fall of the financial services giant Wirecard is such a scandal. Wirecard, whose products facilitated e-commerce payment transactions, was the rare German startup that seemed primed to become a “global player”—a phrase with special resonance in a country that, despite all evidence to the contrary, still perceives itself as being small-time. The company was founded in 1999, survived the dotcom-bubble, began a massive expansion into Asia in the middle of the financial crisis, and, later, began another expansion into the Middle East. Continue reading “Article: The Weird, Extremely German Origins of the Wirecard Scandal”