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The logo of German payments provider Wirecard is seen at a building of the company’s headquarters in Aschheim near Munich, southern Germany, September 2, 2020. — AFP pic
The logo of German payments provider Wirecard is seen at a building of the company’s headquarters in Aschheim near Munich, southern Germany, September 2, 2020. — AFP pic

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SINGAPORE, Sept 2 — A British man has been charged in Singapore over a fraud linked to collapsed German payments firm Wirecard, authorities said today, as the fallout from the scandal continues to spread. 

Wirecard filed for insolvency last year after admitting that €1.9 billion (RM9.1 billion) missing from its accounts did not exist, revelations that stunned Germany.

James Henry O’Sullivan, 46, was charged at a Singapore court yesterday, a court official said.

A charge sheet seen by AFP said the Briton in March 2017 got company director R. Shanmugaratnam to issue a letter showing his firm held €86.4 million (around RM415 million) in escrow for Wirecard.

In reality Shanmugaratnam’s company, Citadelle Corporate Services, “did not maintain the said account”, according to the charges.

O’Sullivan could be jailed for up to 10 years, or fined, or both, if convicted.

Citadelle, a Singapore business administration firm, has been at the centre of investigations in the city-state related to Wirecard’s collapse.

Shanmugaratnam, who was alleged to have falsely claimed in letters in 2016 and 2017 that the firm held large amounts in accounts on behalf of Wirecard, was charged last year. 

Wirecard’s woes began in January 2019 with a series of Financial Times articles alleging accounting irregularities in its Asian division, headed by chief operating officer Jan Marsalek.

Marsalek remains at large after failing to turn himself in to German investigators.

The Wirecard implosion, which has drawn comparisons with the Enron accounting scandal in the United States in the early 2000s, has been described as “unparalleled” in Germany by Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.

The company’s former chief executive Markus Braun and several other top executives have been arrested on fraud and money laundering charges over the massive scam. — AFP

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