The Wirecard investigative committee is nearing its preliminary climax.
Parliamentarians Angela Merkel and Olaf Scholz will soon be questioning them.
It is still uncertain what responsibility they have.
Berlin - The Wirecard scandal is one of the biggest economic scandals in recent years.
It has not yet been finally clarified who will be politically responsible for the machinations of the former Dax group.
In total, it is about 20 billion euros of market capital and thousands of damaged investors.
The most prominent witnesses will be interviewed these weeks: Angela Merkel, Olaf Scholz, Peter Altmaier and Jörg Kukies will answer questions from the committee in the coming days.
Wirecard scandal: Angela Merkel and Olaf Scholz testify before the committee
How could it possibly come this far? How was Wirecard able to present itself as the star in the sky of the German financial industry for years? How could auditors and politicians be blinded by this company? The Wirecard investigation committee has been trying to get to the bottom of these questions for 300 hours. For this week he has summoned numerous top politicians as witnesses. At the beginning, Digital State Minister Dorothee Bär (CSU) and then Minister of Economics Altmaier will be interviewed on Tuesday. Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) and Finance State Secretary Jörg Kukies are invited on Wednesday. Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) will then have to answer questions on Thursday - and on Friday the committee members will question Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) as a witness.More than 80 participants were surveyed beforehand, including ex-Wirecard boss Markus Braun. But supervisory boards, auditors and lobbyists such as ex-defense minister Karl-Theodor von Guttenberg have already made their statements.
Wirecard scandal: Statements from Merkel, Scholz, Altmaier and Kukies are eagerly awaited
The committee members should be particularly interested in the statements made by Finance State Secretary Jörg Kukies.
The ex-co-boss of Goldman Sachs maintained close contacts in business and finance.
For example, he followed the merger of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank.
Kukies also met Markus Braun several times.
So far, what was discussed in the meeting is only known briefly.
In addition, Kukies is suspected of having pursued a ban on financial bets against Wirecard.
Economics Minister Peter Altmaier is also likely to have to endure some highly embarrassing questions. After all, the auditors from Ernst & Young (EY) in particular have approved Wirecard's balance sheet for many years. The work of EY is checked by the auditor's supervisory body (APAS), which in turn is subordinate to the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control and is therefore subordinate to Peter Altmaier. The officials have failed to control the company and have shown great deficits in their work. After some rumors, Apas boss Ralf Bose had to admit in December 2020 that he had bought Wirecard shares. In addition, the authority is accused of having initiated an investigation against EY too late. According to Altmaier, Dorothea Bär had to testify on Tuesday.The CSU politician tried to arrange a meeting between Markus Braun and Angela Merkel in 2018. However, the meeting never took place.
Wirecard scandal: How much did Scholz and Merkel know about what happened at Wirecard?
For Olaf Scholz, the survey and the Wirecard committee come at an extremely bad time.
The SPD's candidate for chancellor could suffer significant image damage just a few months before the federal election.
Scholz has repeatedly stated that he is doing everything possible to expedite the investigation of the scandal.
So far, however, Scholz has not been able to convince with his actions.
For example, Scholz dismissed the Bafin boss Felix Hufeld only after a long hesitation.
The question of how much he could know about the suspicion against Wirecard is likely to be particularly critical for the Vice Chancellor.
Angela Merkel will be the most prominent guest on the committee of inquiry. Although the Chancellor never had direct contact with one of the Wirecard managers, her former Defense Minister Karl-Theodor von Guttenberg recommended the company to her. The conversation that was made public by Der Spiegel ultimately led Merkel to advertise the company on a trip to China. Here, too, the question arises as to how much the Chancellor knew about what was going on at Wirecard. (
phf / dpa)