FinTech Payments

Singapore’s Central Bank Helping Police Investigate Wirecard

June 29, 2020 at 10:20PM

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is collaborating with police to investigate Wirecard AG, the embattled German payment processing firm, Reuters reported.

Singapore’s Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), the white-collar crime unit, has been probing Wirecard’s Singapore operations for 16 months, the news service reported.

“In view of recent developments in Wirecard AG, the MAS and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) are collaborating with CAD to scrutinize other possible aspects of the case,” the MAS said in a statement Monday (June 29), the report said. “Due to the cross-border nature of some of the transactions, Singapore authorities have reached out to relevant foreign authorities for further information and also stand ready to assist investigations by foreign authorities where requested.”

Wirecard filed for insolvency last week following an auditor’s disclosure that $2.1 billion of supposed deposits were missing from two banks in the Philippines.

MAS noted that it requires financial institutions to report all suspicious transactions, including transactions that are large, complex or present unusual patterns with no apparent economic or lawful purposes.

“We will take firm action if we find evidence of criminal behavior or serious lapses in anti-money laundering controls,” the MAS said.

Shares have fallen by more than 90 percent and the company has lost nearly $12 billion of market value, the report said.

Shortly before news of the missing money broke, the MAS said it had asked Wirecard’s domestic divisions to protect customer funds, Reuters reported. On Monday (June 29), the agency said it also contacted other financial institutions to determine whether any abuse of Singapore’s financial system for illicit purposes, the report said.

The Anti-Money Laundering Council, an agency of the Philippine government, told Reuters it would conduct a swift and thorough investigation into Wirecard. The island nation became involved after Wirecard initially claimed the money was deposited in BDO Unibank Inc. and the Bank of the Philippine Islands.

On Monday the Munich court appointed Michael Jaffe to manage Wirecard’s insolvency case.

Also on Monday, the United Kingdom’s regulatory authority said while Wirecard was correcting issues raised by the accounting scandal, restrictions on the collapsed German company will remain.

“We cannot lift the restrictions without reassuring ourselves that the firm has been able to satisfy all our concerns, for example that all clients’ money is safe,” the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said in a statement. “We hope to be able to issue an update soon.”

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