WIRECARD disaster of June 18th, 2020: Must EY compensate the investors?
Berlin-based law firms Schirp & Partner and Dr. Marc Liebscher have filed their first lawsuits against EY… (Ernst & Young) following the WIRECARD disaster of June 18th. Further lawsuits are in preparation. The aim of the lawsuits is that EY should compensate the WIRECARD investors (shares, bonds, derivatives) for their losses. In the past years, EY has always been WIRECARD’s auditor and has audited the annual financial statements up to and including 2018 without objections. Only now, in June 2020, has the audit certificate for the 2019 financial statements been refused.
Dr. Wolfgang Schirp: “We are the first to hold EY accountable in court. Our lawsuit is based in particular on the fact that EY has audited WIRECARD’s alleged equity capital of up to EUR 1.9 billion in recent years without objection, although no sufficient evidence was available. This procedure is very peculiar and, according to our analysis, does not correspond to the dutiful procedure of an auditor. Having recently been able to obtain judgements against an inadequately working rating agency (against Scope regarding the MS “Deutschland” bond), we now also want to vigorously demand the liability of auditors such as EY. We do not want to allow auxiliary persons, whose reputation and good name made it possible to damage investors in the first place, to escape without consequences.”
Dr. Marc Liebscher: “From today’s point of view, is it possible to make a prognosis for WIRECARD that the continuation of the company is probable at all? In any case, this is doubtful. On the one hand, according to market reports, it is possible to call in around EUR 2 billion in borrowed capital today because the 2019 balance sheet is missing. On the other hand, major Wirecard customers will have to consider whether they should terminate their contractual relationships for good cause: After all, Wirecard, their contractual partner for payment services, has “lost” EUR 1.9 billion according to its own statements. Whoever therefore wants to enforce damages should therefore not turn against WIRECARD, but against potent third parties. This is the reason why we are taking action against EY, and indirectly against their liability insurance. This is currently the only promising course of action. Many institutional investors will also take this path.”