Wirecard AG, the German payments firm, announced the resignation of CEO Markus Braun and named James Fries as interim CEO amid a massive accounting scandal that has sent shares reeling.
On Thursday, the company announced it would delay its annual financial report after its auditor, Ernst & Young, informed the firm that it could not account for about 1.9 billion euros ($2.1 billion).
“There are indications that spurious balance confirmations had been provided from the side of the trustee respectively of the trustee’s account holding banks to the auditor in order to deceive the auditor and create a wrong perception of the existence of such cash balances or the holding of the accounts for to the benefit of Wirecard group companies,” the company said in a statement posted on its investor relations page Thursday.
The company said if certified financial statements could not be made until June 19 that about 2 billion euros in Wirecard loans could be terminated.
Singapore authorities launched an investigation into the company in late 2019, following reports by the Financial Times of inflated sales and earnings at the company’s Asian businesses. Wirecard denied the allegations.