PH top lending banks confirm: ‘Wirecard is not our client’

TWO Philippine banks—BDO Unibank and Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)—insisted that they don’t have business dealings with the controversial German fintech Wirecard payment service.

The banks slammed the fabricated documents involving them in the 1.9 billion euro missing funds scandal.

“Wirecard is not a client of the bank. The document claiming the existence of a Wirecard account with BDO is a falsified document and carries forged signatures of bank officers,” the BDO told the local bourse on Monday, June 22, 2020.

Last week, BDO said it sacked a marketing officer for fabricating a bank certificate issued to Ernst & Young (EY) Germany, which carried forged signatures of bank officers to assure the existence of Wirecard’s supposed trust account.

BPI, on the other hand, also confirmed that Wirecard is not its client. It also ordered the suspension and investigation of its employee who allegedly took part in falsifying the document.

“Wirecard’s auditor EY presented documents to the bank purporting to show that Wirecard is a client. These documents were determined to have been falsified. The employee who may have played a part in the preparation of the said document has been suspended and is under investigation. The bank has reported this matter to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas,” said the BPI’s disclosure on Monday.

Wirecard AG said Monday, that the two accounts that were supposed to contain 1.9 billion euros (US$2.1 billion) probably don’t exist, deepening troubles that prompted the resignation of its chief executive.

Wirecard was once regarded as a star of the growing fintech sector, but its shares have fallen sharply from their peak after the company became the subject of multiple Financial Times reports about accounting irregularities. Wirecard disputed the reports, which started in February 2019, and said it was the victim of speculators. Last week, the company disclosed that auditors couldn’t find the accounts containing the 1.9 billion euros and postponed its annual report.

On Friday, June 19, Wirecard chief executive officer Markus Braun resigned and was replaced by James Freis.

Wirecard said its management board “assesses on the basis of further examination that there is a prevailing likelihood that the bank trust account balances in the amount of 1.9 billion euros do not exist.”

Wirecard said it is in “constructive discussions” with banks on continuing credit lines, and is “assessing options for a sustainable financing strategy for the company.” It said it’s examining other possible measures to keep the business going, including restructuring and disposing of business units. (KOC, AP)