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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Crime: Wirecard key witness: I got 4.8 million euros

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A gang of fraudsters in the top position of the Wirecard Group is said to have cheated lenders by more than three billion euros. In the Munich trial, the presiding judge asked the prosecution’s key witness a simple question: “What benefit did you get from it?”

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According to the prosecution’s witness, his participation in the alleged Wirecard billion-euro fraud brought in 4.8 million euros. The manager Oliver Bellenhaus, who worked in Dubai from 2013 to 2020, received this sum as a one-off payment, diverted from company funds and bypassing payroll accounting. Bellenhaus estimated his original monthly salary at 13,000 euros on Thursday in the Wirecard criminal case.

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“The salary that I received from Wirecard was far from appropriate for my position,” said Bellenhaus on Thursday before the fourth criminal chamber of the Munich I Regional Court. The manager, who had been in custody for more than two and a half years, was in custody until the collapse of the scandalous group in the summer 2020 Managing Director of the subsidiary Cardsystems Middle East in Dubai.

According to Bellenhaus, he asked for a salary increase, he had an annual salary of 900,000 to 950,000 euros in mind. Sales director Jan Marsalek rejected this – and instead proposed a “one-off special payment” of 4.8 million euros. Bellenhaus invested the money in a foundation in Liechtenstein.

Bellenhaus: Gradually slipped into the fraud

The defense attorneys for former CEO Markus Braun have accused Bellenhaus of diverting amounts in the hundreds of millions from the group. Bellenhaus rejected this several times. He also did not own Wirecard shares: “That would have been a bad investment.”

According to his own account, he gradually slipped into the fraud over the years, but didn’t want to break away or face the public prosecutor’s office: “When I went in somewhere, I’ve never walked out backwards and cried.”

At Wirecard, a large part of the sham transactions with invented payment services went through Dubai. Over the years, according to Bellenhaus, the effort involved in inventing sham sales became so great that real business was hardly possible: “There was no more time to deal with customers.”

Bellenhaus has been on trial since December together with the former CEO Markus Braun and the former chief accountant. According to the indictment, they have been falsifying the payment service provider’s balance sheets since 2015 and cheated lending banks by 3.1 billion euros.

Source: Stern

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