Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry moves closer | Bafin employees traded in Wirecard shares

The Wirecard scandal also has a political dimension. According to press reports, an inquiry by the Greens revealed private share transactions by employees of BaFin and other consulting mandates of former top politicians.

According to these reports, employees of the financial supervisory authority Bafin increasingly traded in securities of the payment provider in the months prior to the Wirecard bankruptcy. According to press reports, in the first half of 2020, 2.4 percent of all reported private financial transactions conducted by Bafin employees involved transactions in Wirecard shares or share derivatives. For the year 2018 as a whole, the share was accordingly only 1.2 percent, and 1.7 percent in 2019.

BaFin has taken action to counter the accusations: According to press reports, the increase in trading in Wirecard securities was due to the greater fluctuations in the share price caused by media coverage and the company’s ad hoc announcements, according to the press reports in the response of the Federal Ministry of Finance to the inquiry of the Green Party. The increased Wirecard share transactions by BaFin employees were “not unusual or conspicuous in comparison with other Dax stocks, where volatility had increased”.

In addition, the former mayor of Hamburg, Ole von Beust (65, CDU), had also lobbied for the company at the Federal Chancellery. According to the publications, however, this was about the planned EU-China Summit in Leipzig (including a possible accompanying program for companies) and not about accusations against Wirecard or the share price of the company.

According to press reports, the Greens consider a parliamentary committee of enquiry being likely, unless the meeting of the Finance Committee at the end of August provides more clarity.

Subject to further and different information, however, the political dimension of the Wirecard scandal is unlikely to be of any significance for possible claims by investors, employees and contractual partners of Wirecard.