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Former Wirecard CFO Free For Now As German Probe Continues

The former chief financial officer of Wirecard, the insolvent and scandal-plagued German payments processor and financial services provider, is now a free man, temporarily at least, the Financial Times (FT) reported.

Burkhard Ley, the financial chief of Wirecard from 2006 to 2017, was released from jail on bail after three months behind bars, Munich prosecutors said Monday (Nov. 2), according to FT.

Ley is one of four former Wirecard executives who were arrested and put in jail on accusations of fraud, embezzlement and market manipulation in the biggest accounting scandal in post-war German history, according to FT.

However, Munich prosecutors said they had second thoughts on their decision to lock up Ley, noting in a statement that most of the accusations of wrongdoing by company executives date to the last three years, after Ley had left Wirecard’s board, FT reported.

Ley’s assets have also been seized, so the chances the former CFO would attempt to run after being released from jail are low, the Munich prosecutors said, per the report.

Ley’s release is also subject to “extensive bail terms,” the prosecutors said, declining to offer more detail, according to FT.

“According to the prosecutor’s point of view, essential crimes, which caused significant damage, were conducted after [Ley] retired from the management board,” the prosecutors said in a statement, per FT.

The three other former Wirecard executives have not been as fortunate and remain in jail: former CEO Markus Braun; former head of accounting Stephan von Erffa; and Oliver Bellenhaus, who lead a Dubai-based Wirecard subsidiary, FT reported.

Still on the lam is Jan Marsalek, Wirecard’s former chief operating officer, who vanished not long after the company acknowledged on June 18 that $2 billion in cash that it claimed it had stashed in a pair of banks in the Philippines actually did not exist.

The German payments processor, once valued at $28 billion, filed for insolvency soon after.

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