Wirecard director suspected of fraud believed to have been sacked

The Wirecard Asia director at the centre of a global scandal rocking the digital payments giant is believed to have been sacked amid a police probe into suspected fraud and forgery, The Straits Times has learnt.

Mr Edo Kurniawan, who headed the accounting department at the German fintech firm's subsidiary, has not worked at the company since April 1, Wirecard said in response to queries.

Sources said he had not been seen in the office for weeks since the accusations surfaced in February, and his Singapore colleagues had told police investigators that they had lost contact with the senior accounting executive.

Mr Kurniawan, a Singapore permanent resident, was accused in a series of reports by Britain's Financial Times of orchestrating a round-tripping scheme involving Wirecard's Asian businesses. The reports alleged that he had drawn up the plans to pad the books through falsifying accounts with other businesses as well as Wirecard's own entities.

Mr Kurniawan was also named by police investigators in court documents as one of the suspects being investigated, alongside five other senior executives based in Wirecard's Singapore office at Mapletree Business City.

The group said on March 26 that an internal compliance probe commissioned by Wirecard pointed towards criminal liability on the part of "a few local employees in Singapore". The Straits Times understands that the full review, conducted by law firm Rajah & Tann, has not been finalised yet.

Wirecard has declined to reveal the full report to protect client privacy, but has stated that it is evaluating a way to provide more details without violating these rights.

 
 
 
 

In recent days, sources in the company said Wirecard's Singapore auditors from EY have inquired about Rajah & Tann's report as part of their latest review. Some employees were concerned that auditors might not give their stamp of approval for their upcoming financial statements owing to suspected fraud.

Wirecard said auditors review any compliance investigations within a company as part of their responsibilities.

The Straits Times has also learnt that Wirecard's global head of compliance, Mr Royston Ng, left the firm in recent weeks. Other key financial executives are also believed to have quit.

Mr Ng, a former magistrate and deputy public prosecutor, had been questioned by the Commercial Affairs Department as part of their probe but was not named as a suspect, court filings showed.

Wirecard declined to comment on the employment status of Mr Ng and other executives at its Singapore branch, stating that it cannot give more details on staff matters as a matter of policy.

The group did not comment if Mr Kurniawan is still contactable, or if he is helping the Singapore police in their probe.