German watchdog probes Wirecard stock market slump

An employee of Wirecard AG, an independent provider of solutions for electronic payment transactions, presents the contactless payment system ‘boon’ at the company’s headquarters in Aschheim, Germany September 6, 2018. — Reuter pic
An employee of Wirecard AG, an independent provider of solutions for electronic payment transactions, presents the contactless payment system ‘boon’ at the company’s headquarters in Aschheim, Germany September 6, 2018. — Reuter pic

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Jan 31 — German financial markets watchdog Bafin told AFP today it was investigating whether a slump in shares of payment provider Wirecard was the result of market manipulation.

The group’s stock tumbled almost 25 per cent in Frankfurt trading yesterday, after the Financial Times reported a senior manager in Asia had used false documents to cover up suspect transactions.

But Wirecard issued a categorical denial of any wrongdoing.

Now “we are going to investigate yesterday’s events to determine whether they represent possible market manipulation,” a Bafin spokesman told AFP.



Bonn-based Bafin’s probe is based on a European rule banning “spreading information via the media… that gives false or misleading signals regarding the supply or price of a financial instrument.”

Depending on the results, the authority could refer the case to prosecutors.

It opted for the criminal justice route in 2017, after examining a slump in Wirecard’s following allegations in a previously little-known newsletter that it had lied in financial statements and committed fraud.

Wirecard also denied those allegations at the time.

At the end of its inquiry, Bafin determined that the claims were an attempt at market manipulation and passed the case on to Munich prosecutors.

They were unable to tell AFP immediately Thursday whether a prosecution went ahead.

Similar Bafin probes have uncovered short-sellers behind targeted market manipulation schemes.

Short sellers make money by agreeing to sell shares they do not yet own at a set price on a certain date, hoping they will be able to buy them for less and make a profit on the difference.



By 4.15pm today (1515 GMT), Wirecard shares were down 0.14 per cent at €144.95 (US$166.38), against a market down 1.1 per cent. — AFP

Source: The Malay Mail Online





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