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Wirecard’s disappearing $2.1 billion



Happy Friday.

Though it’s most certainly an uneasy one for Wirecard, a high-flying German financial technology group once valued at €24 billion ($27 billion) and hailed as the country’s next great tech star. Already parrying allegations around its accounting, the company revealed that auditors were unable to find some €1.8 billion ($2.1 billion) in cash.

The disappearing cash, which was the equivalent of Wirecard’s profits since 2012, was supposedly held by two Asian banks. But the two banks, BDO Unibank and the Bank of the Philippine Islands, say Wirecard was not a client. The CEO of BDO Nestor Tan added that a “rogue employee” falsified documents mimicking BDO’s officers.

Now Wirecard is trading at a valuation of roughly €4.9 billion ($5.5 billion). CEO Markus Braun has resigned amid ongoing investigations into allegations that profits at key subsidiaries had been fraudulently inflated, and the company is facing a potential liquidity crunch. 

A stunning part of the story: The Financial Times first published a report alleging the use of forged contracts in Singapore to inflate revenues in January of last year. Yet sell-side analysts maintained their bullishness and early on, BaFin, Germany’s financial watchdog, accused the Financial Times of potential market manipulation alongside short sellers rather than taking aim at Wirecard. BaFin later concluded that there was no collusion, according to the FT.

It’s Juneteenth—135 years ago today, the enslaved people of Galveston, Texas learned that they had been freed over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation formally returned those rights to them (news travelled slow, back in the day). Many businesses have made splashy announcements about Juneteenth company holidays, but the way they treat their black employees when they return on Monday matters just as much, if not more. Fortune has compiled stories from black employees across industries that reveal what their experiences in corporate America are like. It’s clear: No matter what companies are doing to take a stand against racial inequality right now, there is much more work to be done. Read more.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda


If you were to assemble the people who could help you truly understand health care and how it’s affected businesses today, who would you pick? Here’s a few on Fortune’s list: 

  • The CEOs and presidents of healthcare giants Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Novartis, Aetna
  • co-discoverer of CRISPR-Cas9 Dr. Jennifer Doudna
  • Dean of Stanford Medicine Dr. Lloyd Minor
  • chief medical officers from IBM, Verily, Google Health
  • healthcare venture capitalists like Sue Siegel
  • Thrive Global CEO Arianna Huffington
  • CEO of REFORM Alliance Van Jones
  • NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

Hear from them and more at FORTUNE Brainstorm Health, our virtual health-care conference on July 7-8. As a newsletter subscriber, you’re invited to use this code—BSH20HALF—and get half off.

Lyron Foster is a Hawaii based African American Musician, Author, Actor, Blogger, Filmmaker, Philanthropist and Multinational Serial Tech Entrepreneur.

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