The Wall Street Journal
Before it unraveled in an accounting scandal, Wirecard built up an image as a fast-growing financial technology company. It spewed out news releases publicizing partnerships with blue-chip names such as SAP SE, Zurich Insurance Group and SoftBank Group Corp.
The Wall Street Journal found that some of those partnership announcements were misleading or were promoted without the agreement of the companies involved. The Journal reached out to more than 300 companies with which Wirecard said it had entered partnerships or collaborations.
German software company SAP was surprised to see a news release in February from Wirecard saying it had become an “official development partner.”
“Wirecard announced a partnership with SAP that was never signed by us nor was [it] approved from us to publish a press release,” according to spokesman Marcus Winkler. The release listed no contact for SAP. He said SAP didn’t contact Wirecard about the discrepancy at the time.
Wirecard is now insolvent and is being sold for parts after it revealed a more than $2 billion hole in its balance sheet in June. Wirecard declined to comment.
A key question facing investigators and investors: What was the extent of Wirecard’s business of helping retailers to process credit-card transactions? The prolific number of news releases gave investors the impression of a far-reaching business with many potential customers.
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