The Children’s Investment Fund Management (TCI) has called for the removal of Wirecard chief executive Markus Braun after a critical audit by KPMG failed to fully address the accounting allegations brought forward by short sellers. TCI has a short position in Wirecard of around 1% of the share capital.
On Monday, Wirecard published a lengthy report that was supposed to shed light on a series of allegations regarding accounting wrongdoing, as unveiled by short outfits, including MCA Mathematik and J Capital Research, and the Financial Times. Despite clearing Wirecard from “balance sheet forgery” accusations, KPMG said the firm had failed to provide the necessary data to analyze revenues in the three years through 2018 and delayed the investigation by not supplying documents in time.
Moreover, the German payments processor repeatedly postponed interviews with key personnel and provided some of the documents in a format that did not allow for authenticity verification, according to the auditor.
Reacting to the report, TCI said Wirecard’s board must “take direct responsibility” for the inconclusive investigation and dismiss Braun from the CEO position, or, at the very least, remove the firm’s management “from all involvement in this audit until all of the allegations have been fully resolved.”
TCI took particular issue with the fact that KPMG was unable to obtain the information needed to verify revenues of 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in transactions with third parties. This, in TCI’s opinion, raises questions as to Wirecard’s ability to comply with anti-money laundering laws, let alone credibility issues.
The supervisory board has a legal obligation to act and resolve “the outstanding questions that the report has failed to answer,” TCI boss Christopher Hohn said in a letter to Wirecard Chairman Thomas Eichelmann.
Shares in Wirecard lost another 3% by 11 a.m. Central European Summer Time on Wednesday, after shedding 26% the previous day.