Wirecard administrator eyes piece-by-piece sell-off

The company logo is seen at the headquarters of German payments provider Wirecard in Aschheim near Munich, southern Germany, on June 24, 2020. – In what could be one of the biggest financial frauds of recent years, German payments provider Wirecard admitted 1.9 billion euros that auditors say are missing from its accounts likely “do not exist”. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Germany (AFP) —  The unprecedented scandal at German payments processor Wirecard could lead to the group being sold off piecemeal, after its insolvency administrator said investors are eyeing profitable business units.

A provisional committee of Wirecard creditors signed off on an international search for buyers Tuesday and confirmed lawyer Michael Jaffe as administrator.

“Many investors from all over the world have already signaled interest in buying the core business or independent business areas that are successful on the market,” Jaffe said in a statement published late Tuesday.

US-based Wirecard North America had earlier said it was hunting for an external buyer.

Still listed on the blue-chip DAX index, Wirecard shares tumbled around 99 percent last week to trade at around one euro ($1.12) by Friday, but have rebounded early this week to almost 6 euros as speculators bet on its break-up.

The group filed for insolvency Thursday but said it would continue trading.

Former chief executive and founder Markus Braun was bailed for five million euros last week after reporting to prosecutors over charges of falsifying accounts.

Meanwhile former chief operating officer Jan Marsalek failed to turn himself in to Munich investigators despite an earlier promise to do so, with his whereabouts unclear after he travelled to the Philippines.

Marsalek was responsible for the Asia business that became the focus of accounting irregularities — including a missing 1.9 billion euros supposedly banked in the Philippines — that ultimately brought Wirecard down.

© Agence France-Presse