Wirecard: Germany’s anti-money laundering unit failed to share ‘dozens’ of warnings
14 Aug 2020

The anti-money laundering unit of Germany’s customs authority reportedly failed to share dozens of warnings with police that online payments company Wirecard was facilitating suspicious transactions even before the scandal broke in June.

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) only handed over a small portion of the information it had about Wirecard’s transactions, broadcaster NDR and Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Tuesday.

The FIU reportedly received a total of around 1,000 reports in connection with Wirecard, 97 of which were found to potentially offer information related to the Wirecard allegations. However, it only forwarded a fraction of them to the Bavarian state police and the responsible public prosecutor’s office in Munich, according to the reports.

The agency has been looking over the reports for offenses including falsification of accounts, fraud, embezzlement, market manipulation and insider trading, and says it is re-examining the evidence in light of new information.

A spokesman for the Munich public prosecutor said that “only two reports from the FIU were received” before June 2020, both of which had triggered investigations.

The FIU says it has passed information on 50 of the suspicious reports to the responsible law enforcement authorities, the majority of which originated after the scandal broke.

Widespread criticism

The unit has also been repeatedly criticized by police for delaying or withholding money laundering reports.

A total of four state justice ministries have filed formal complaints with the Federal Ministry of Justice against FIU, alleging that the unit had neglected to discover crimes outlined in the reports, or forwarded the reports too late.

By Leah Carter, Deutsche Welle, 12 August 2020

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