To speake of the woe that has befallen Wirecard …
The international fintech community received an unexpected jolt on Friday on news that the CEO of Wirecard, Markus Braun, was stepping down. Braun’s resignation comes amid reports that the German digital financial platform he has led since 2002 cannot account for $2.1 billion in cash, and a delay in the release of its 2019 financial report. Reuters reported that the company admits it could be have been “the victim of fraud of considerable proportions.”
Up until recently Wirecard appeared poised for success as a leading European payment processor for both consumers and businesses. The company reported revenues of $2.2 billion in 2018 and, by the fall of that year, had reached a valuation of $26.9 billion.
But suspicious of the company deepened early last year. A Financial Times report in January alleging suspicious financial activity in Singapore, and the announcement of an official investigation by Singapore authorities a month later, tarnished Wirecard’s image despite the company’s denials. This was followed by claims of further questionable financial activity – this time in Ireland – in October.
In this week’s news, auditors at EY, formerly known as Ernst & Young, were not able to locate cash at two Asian banks – Bank of the Philippine Islands and BDO Unibank – where Wirecard said $2 billion had been deposited. Both banks have denied having a business relationship with Wirecard. Moreover, documents indicating that such a relationship did exist, according to BDO, were falsified and bore forged signatures.
In a statement, Wirecard announced that James Freis, who was recently appointed to the company’s management board, will serve as interim CEO. the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, known as BaFin, is investigating.
Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.
Latin America and the Caribbean
- Brazil-based SME lender BizCapital raises $12 million in Series B funding to support development of new products.
- Banco Sabadell partners with IBM to enhances its digital banking operations in Mexico.
- Banco Safra, based in Brazil, to deploy ACI Worldwide’s UP Retail Payments solution and UP Framework.
- Vietnam Plus reports surge in contactless payments in Vietnam.
- Crowdfund Insider investigates the rise of Sharia fintech in Indonesia.
- Malaysian fintech Curlec, which helps businesses manage recurring payments and cash flow, secures investment from 500 Startups.
- South African open banking startup – and FinovateAfrica alum – truID announces seed funding.
- Nigeria’s Chipper Cash secures $13.8 million in Series A funding.
- WapiPay, a fintech based in Kenya and Singapore that provides platform-to-platform integration for virtual and global accounts, raises seed funding via accelerator network FutureHub.
Central and Eastern Europe
- Estonia’s Planet42 announces $2.4 million seed round led by Change Ventures. The company helps facilitate automobile access for the underbanked in South Africa.
- Russia’s Tinkoff teams up with online marketplace goods.ru.
- Boku acquires Estonia-based mobile payments company Fortumo in deal valued at $45 million.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- UAE-based Buy Now Pay Later e-commerce company Postpay introduces a trio of new installment payment options.
- The Fintech Times takes a look at the state of the fintech and financial services industry in Lebanon.
- Tpay Mobile, based in Dubai, acquires Turkish payments company Payguru.
Central and Southern Asia
- Cryptocurrency exchange Binance joins the Indian Tech Association.
- Kaspi, an e-commerce banking app based in Kazakhstan, to expand to Azerbaijan and other neighboring countries.
- India Infoline launches #IIFLDisrupt, an initiative to help early-stage Indian fintechs during the COVID-19 crisis.
- India-based Buy Now Pay Later company Tabby raises $7 million in funding to support expansion into Saudi Arabia.