MUNICH, Dec 12 (Reuters) – Previous Wirecard boss Markus Braun’s attorneys accused prosecutors of botching Germany’s biggest submit-war fraud trial at the start of his defence on Monday and alleged that their crucial witness was in truth the most important perpetrator.
Braun, 53, and two other ex-Wirecard professionals Oliver Bellenhaus and Stephan von Erffa are on demo on costs like market place manipulation and fraud at the defunct payments organization and could deal with up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Wirecard’s collapse two many years back shook the German small business institution, placing politicians who had backed it and regulators who took decades to examine allegations towards the enterprise beneath powerful scrutiny.
Braun has constantly denied wrongdoing.
The lawyer for Bellenhaus, who was head of Wirecard’s subsidiary in Dubai and grew to become a witness immediately after turning himself in to German authorities in 2020, explained he admits accountability. The attorney past 7 days asked for a reduced sentence and for Bellenhaus to be produced from custody in recognition of his client’s co-operation.
Von Erffa has expressed regret about the gatherings but his attorney on Monday denied any wrongdoing on his component.
At the commence of the demo in Munich last week, prosecutors accused Braun and his co-defendants of becoming portion of a gang that invented huge sums of phantom earnings by means of bogus transactions with lover businesses to mislead creditors and investors.
They stated the deception allowed Wirecard’s administrators to siphon income out of the company for several years.
Braun’s law firm Alfred Dierlamm’s defence sought to puncture all those claims in courtroom. He reported that Braun had hardly ever marketed his Wirecard shares and experienced truly taken the initiative to call in outside auditors from KPMG to examine its funds.
“It really is an definitely absurd and erroneous idea that a gang chief would act like this,” Dierlamm claimed.
He reported prosecutors had been biased versus Braun, who was arrested in 2020, adding they have been underneath tension to uncover a perpetrator after fellow Wirecard manager, Jan Marsalek, fled abroad.
Dierlamm mentioned that Bellenhaus, who is the prosecution’s vital witness, was the key perpetrator of fraud and asked for the trial to be suspended to give the defence more time supplied the volume of “documents that have been dumped on our desk” on a weekly foundation considering the fact that the commence of November.
‘NOT A Essential WITNESS’
Founded in 1999 and dependent in the Munich suburb of Aschheim, Wirecard’s impressive increase transformed it from a payment processor for pornography and on the web gambling to a showpiece for a new sort of German tech business that could compete with the recognized titans of Europe’s most significant financial state.
Right after batting away suspicions of wrongdoing from buyers and journalists and properly lobbying the German authorities to look into these who were being scrutinising its funds, Wirecard at last admitted in June 2020 that 1.9 billion euros ($2 billion) were being missing from its equilibrium sheet.
Wirecard turned the very first-at any time member of the DAX blue chip stock index to file for insolvency, owing almost $4 billion.
Dierlamm mentioned Bellenhaus was not credible as the essential witness in the scenario.
“Bellenhaus is the primary perpetrator of a gang whose sole purpose was to siphon off and embezzle big sums of income from Wirecard AG’s prosperity,” Braun’s attorney mentioned.
Von Erffa’s lawyer Sabine Stetter also said in a statement that Bellenhaus was a “doubtful witness”.
Bellenhaus deleted enormous amounts of e-mails, allegedly missing his cellular cell phone and laptop computer and only documented selectively to the public prosecutor, she added.
Florian Eder, Bellenhaus’ law firm, dismissed Dierlamm’s allegations as “outrageous” and a smokescreen, questioning irrespective of whether Bellenhaus would definitely have stashed cash absent abroad and only returned to Germany “to dob Dr Braun in”.
Dierlamm countered prosecution statements that no genuine money flowed to Wirecard’s companion organizations and claimed the prosecution had not been comprehensive in checking evidence of payments.
“As a result of the really serious omissions in the investigative method, we now have a shambles in front of us,” he explained.
A verdict is not anticipated in advance of 2024 at the earliest.
Writing by Matthias Williams. Modifying by Jane Merriman and Alexander Smith
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