Learning 6: When a company gets big enough people stop asking
With Wirecard, Markus Braun and Jan Marsalek weaved an opaque network of subcontractors and third-party providers behind which they could hide: “Of course, you don’t just start out and invent €1.9 billion out of nowhere. Wirecard’s fraud began with small sums of money,” said McCrum.
Over time, the fictitious profits grew larger. By the end of 2019, Wirecard was a DAX company with a market value of more than €20 billion – considerably more than Deutsche Bank. So who would really want to ask any more questions? Not the auditors from Ernst & Young. Nor the banks that granted Wirecard loans. The German authorities? Not a whisper. Besides, hardly any other German company had made investors as rich as Wirecard had in past years. Perhaps the main reason why no questions were asked.