Germany’s finance minister Olaf Scholz was criticised by lawmakers for bungling oversight of Wirecard, according to a draft report of a public inquiry into Germany’s biggest post-war fraud scandal.
The report, by opposition lawmakers and coming after a months long investigation, also said that Chancellor Angela Merkel was naive regarding Wirecard’s lobbying efforts.
The criticism echoes lawmakers’ public comments since the start of the inquiry, but the 675-page draft revives the topic just months ahead of a federal election to choose Merkel’s successor. Scholz is among those vying for the office.
“Olaf Scholz as finance minister bears political responsibility for the failure of BaFin,” the report says, referring to the nation’s financial regulator that is part of the ministry.
The finance minister and chancellery weren’t immediately able to respond to requests for comment.
Wirecard, founded in 1999, began by processing payments for gambling and pornography websites before becoming a star of “fintech” – or financial technology – and a member of the DAX bluechip index. It ended as Germany’s biggest fraud case.
It filed for insolvency in June last year, owing creditors almost $4 billion, after disclosing a 1.9 billion euro hole in its accounts that its auditor EY said was the result of a sophisticated global fraud.