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Bildwortmarke: Deutscher Bundestag German Bundestag

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Decision establishing the Committee of Inquiry and mandate

A.    The German Bundestag notes:

The events surrounding the Wirecard Group and associated companies and individuals (for the purposes of this mandate, the term “Wirecard Group”, used here and below, shall encompass Wirecard AG, all group companies, subsidiaries and other holdings, as well as natural persons acting for them in their capacity as employees or office holders), which were the subject of public reports and debate in the months leading up to this motion for the establishment of a committee of inquiry, are very detailed and multifaceted. In the view of the parliamentary groups tabling this motion, the Federal Government has been unable, in the meetings held by the Finance Committee on this subject, to shed sufficient light on these events and how they are linked to the actions of the competent federal authorities or federal authorities otherwise involved; many questions remain unresolved and new questions have emerged. The movers of this motion therefore believe it is vital for these events to be investigated by a Bundestag committee of inquiry.

B.    The German Bundestag adopts the following decision:

I.    Establishment of a committee of inquiry

A committee of inquiry will be established in accordance with Article 44 of the Basic Law (Grundgesetz).

The committee of inquiry is to have nine full members (CDU/CSU: three members, SPD: two members, AfD: one member, FDP: one member, The Left Party: one member, Alliance 90/The Greens: one member), and a corresponding number of substitute members.

II.    Mandate of the Committee of Inquiry

The Committee of Inquiry is tasked with comprehensively examining the conduct of the Federal Government and its executive agencies in connection with the aforementioned events surrounding the Wirecard Group, including in cooperation with other public and private entities. The inquiry will not be limited to the question of the extent to which the Federal Government and its executive agencies were each informed about the events and the extent to which they fulfilled their obligations in terms of financial supervision, money laundering supervision and tax law with regard to the Wirecard Group.

The inquiry will also cover the subject of whether and in what way the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies supported the interests of the Wirecard Group in Germany and abroad and what communications took place in this context, if any. Furthermore, the Committee of Inquiry will investigate whether and, if so, to what extent links existed between the Wirecard Group and domestic public authorities, if any, and to what extent, if any, the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies knew or know of links between the Wirecard Group and foreign public authorities.

The inquiry will also examine whether the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht – BaFin) identified any criminal and/or manipulative actions, or should or could have identified such actions earlier; what measures it took or could have taken which would have been likely to reduce the scale of investors’ financial losses; and at what point in time it took or could have taken such measures.

The Committee of Inquiry will also examine whether indications of, for example, possible false accounting, money laundering or other unlawful activities in connection with the Wirecard Group were available to German public authorities and, if so, from what point in time these indications were available; whether and, if so, when these indications were properly assessed and reviewed by the Federal Government and its executive agencies, especially supervisory authorities, or by institutions and companies individually commissioned to do so; and whether the specified authorities and entities could have taken steps earlier and worked towards changes in the law which would have been likely to have effectively prevented or at least reduced the potential losses for investors, other creditors and public budgets, as well as the potential damage to Germany’s position as a financial centre and key location for business.

Furthermore, the Committee of Inquiry will examine whether and, if so, to what extent the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies properly reviewed, in compliance with existing law, the auditors’ work in terms of the appropriateness of their audits and certification of all audited reports (e.g. annual accounts, group financial statements, management reports, companies’ bank balances) of the Wirecard Group. Additionally, given the key importance of the reliability of auditor-certified financial statements for financial supervision and stock market supervision, the Committee of Inquiry will examine whether the auditors possibly broke the law or breached accounting or auditing standards in relation to their audits and certification of the aforementioned reports of the Wirecard Group, and to what extent, if any, possible conflicts of interest played a role in this.

The Committee of Inquiry will also present findings about whether and, if so, to what extent existing law, existing organisational structures, failings by the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies and any entities commissioned by them and other authorities involved in the matter fostered, or could have fostered, possible criminal/administrative offences committed by persons acting on behalf of the Wirecard Group and possible breaches of accounting and auditing standards by the Wirecard Group and its business partners.

The Committee of Inquiry will also draw conclusions regarding a potential reform of supervisory structures and possible legislative requirements, among other matters.

The inquiry will cover the period from 1 January 2014 until the establishment of this Committee of Inquiry.

III.    The Committee of Inquiry is to investigate, in particular:

  1. whether persons acting on behalf of the Wirecard Group, including in cooperation with business partners, possibly manipulated its accounts and thus the share price and its own creditworthiness over a period of years, in spite of the existing legal situation and the reviews carried out by public authorities or entities commissioned by the state, and in spite of the audits performed by auditing companies; how this was possible; and whether and to what extent it could have been prevented or detected earlier;
  2. whether – and, if so, which – bodies and persons within the Federal Government and its executive agencies, as well as institutions and companies commissioned by them to perform reviews, potentially did not take or could not have taken action, at all or in time, to limit the extent of possible criminal/administrative offences by persons acting on behalf of the Wirecard Group and possible breaches of accounting and auditing standards by the Wirecard Group, and to limit the extent of the possible losses incurred in connection with the recently submitted requests for the opening of insolvency proceedings by companies in the Wirecard Group; or whether and to what extent breaches of obligations are responsible for the losses incurred, and to what extent there is a risk of costs for public budgets as a result of liability claims by third parties;
  3. whether – and, if so, what – information and findings, if any, were available to the Federal Government and its executive agencies on the question of whether – and, if so, which – institutions and companies commissioned by third parties to perform audits potentially did not take or could not have taken action, at all or in time, to limit the extent of possible criminal/administrative offences by persons acting on behalf of the Wirecard Group and possible breaches of accounting and auditing standards by the Wirecard Group, and to limit the extent of the possible losses incurred in connection with the recently submitted requests for the opening of insolvency proceedings by companies in the Wirecard Group; and whether statutory provisions preclude appropriate compensation for losses caused in this way;
  4. what reports and documents relating to the Wirecard Group, particularly notifications, audit reports produced by the supervisory authorities or private entities (such as auditors and law firms), annual accounts, group financial statements, management reports, companies’ bank balances and the Zatarra report, were available, if at all, to which persons within the Federal Government and its executive agencies at what points in time, or were commissioned by the Federal Government or its executive agencies; and how these reports were assessed and acted on, if at all, or could have been analysed and acted on;
  5. whether a lack, the duration, the content or the nature of inter-agency communication within and between the Federal Government and its executive agencies, and between authorities, institutions and companies commissioned to perform audits, contributed to bringing about or increased the losses possibly caused by events surrounding the Wirecard Group;
  6. whether indications were available to the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies – and, if so, what were these indications and when were they available – of the need for legal and organisational changes in order to equip the individual competent authorities and commissioned entities with the necessary competences and actual options for action at an early stage, and in this way to ensure suitable supervision and necessary audits, as well as consumer protection in the field of financial services;
  7. whether authorities potentially should or could have taken different decisions on the classification of both the Wirecard Group and of parts of the group, in particular regarding (non-)classification as a financial holding company under the Banking Act (Kreditwesengesetz – KWG), as a payment service provider or as an electronic money institution under the Payment Services Supervision Act (Zahlungsdiensteaufsichtsgesetz – ZAG) or as a financial company under the Money Laundering Act (Geldwäschegesetz – GWG); what additional options for action, if any, would have resulted from this; and to what extent this could have hindered or prevented unlawful actions within the Wirecard Group;
  8. what communication, if any, did German public bodies engage in regarding each of these classification decisions, when and with whom (e.g. Wirecard, national, European and international authorities and institutions, private companies); what knowledge, if any, did German public authorities have of communications by the Wirecard Group (with national, European and international authorities and institutions, private companies); and on the basis of what data were the decisions taken in each case;
  9. whether – and if so, which – bodies and/or persons in the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies, and/or companies and institutions commissioned to audit the Wirecard Group, had access to reports from whistleblowers or other sources relating to aspects of the subject of the inquiry; and whether and in what way such reports were assessed and acted on or should or could have been assessed and acted on;
  10. whether – and, if so, what – information and findings were available to the Federal Government and its executive agencies on the subject of the qualifying holding procedure regarding Wirecard AG, and what communication relating to this procedure, if any, took place between the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), Deutsche Börse AG and units within the European Central Bank (ECB);
  11. whether – and, if so, what – information and findings were available to the Federal Government and its executive agencies on the subject of the General Administrative Act prohibiting the short-selling of shares in Wirecard AG, and what communication relating to this, if any, took place between the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies and the ESMA, Deutsche Börse AG and units within the ECB;
  12. whether – and, if so, what – information was available to the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies on the subject of tax assessment and collection processes with regard to companies in the Wirecard Group, particularly taking into consideration audits of tax balance sheets; whether this information also provided or could have provided indications of possible criminal/administrative offences committed by persons acting on behalf of the Wirecard Group and possible breaches of accounting and auditing standards by the Wirecard Group; and what communication relating to this, if any, took place between the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies and authorities at the level of the Länder (Germany’s federal states);
  13. whether – and, if so, what – attempts were made from within the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies to prevent or to influence reporting by German or foreign media outlets on irregularities in the Wirecard Group;
  14. whether – and, if so, what – information and findings were available to the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies on the subject of attempts by persons acting on behalf of the Wirecard Group to hamper the work of German or foreign media outlets on irregularities in the Wirecard Group;
  15. whether – and, if so, which – actions by the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies hampered the work of German or foreign media outlets on irregularities in the Wirecard Group;
  16. whether – and, if so, when – the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies examined reports of market abuse, insider trading, the disclosure of inside information and other matters falling within the scope of the Market Abuse Regulation in connection with the Wirecard Group; against whom any such reports were directed; on what basis these examinations took place; and what the outcome was in each case;
  17. whether – and, if so, what – information and findings were available to the Federal Government and its executive agencies on the subject of the amount of losses incurred by investors, financial institutions and other creditors of the Wirecard Group as a result of possible criminal/administrative offences committed by persons acting on behalf of the Wirecard Group and possible breaches of accounting and auditing standards by the Wirecard Group;
  18. whether and to what extent executive agencies of the Federal Government – potentially also in cooperation/in dialogue with authorities of the Länder – examined and acted on, or should or could have examined and acted on, existing allegations and reports of money laundering activities and other financial crimes by the Wirecard Group; whether these examinations also provided or could have provided indications of possible criminal/administrative offences committed by persons acting on behalf of the Wirecard Group and possible breaches of accounting and auditing standards by the Wirecard Group; and what communication relating to this took place between the aforementioned agencies and authorities;
  19. whether – and, if so, to what extent – there were failings regarding the money laundering supervision of the Wirecard Group;
  20. on what grounds the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) investigated, if at all, reports relating to the Wirecard Group and associated persons made from 22 June 2020 onwards; what findings it reached in this process, if any; whether these findings could potentially have been reached earlier; and whether possible unlawful actions by persons from the Wirecard Group could have come to light earlier as a result of this;
  21. whether and to what extent, to the knowledge of the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies, communication took place between representatives of the Wirecard Group and representatives of Land law enforcement agencies about issues relating to the subject of this inquiry;
  22. whether and to what extent, to the knowledge of the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies, discussions took place between Land law enforcement agencies and the press on issues relating to the subject of this inquiry;
  23. whether – and, if so, when and what – contacts, discussions, negotiations, agreements or attempts to bring these about by the Wirecard Group and/or companies and persons commissioned by it, or other companies, associations and institutions, took place with bodies of the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies, and what interests of the Wirecard Group were the subject in each case;
  24. whether – and, if so, by whom and when – contact was made with persons within the Federal Government, its executive agencies, or bodies commissioned by the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies, with the aim of ensuring that certain supervisory or auditing measures or classifications were carried out in a way that made it more difficult to detect possible criminal/administrative offences committed by persons acting on behalf of the Wirecard Group and possible breaches of accounting and auditing standards by the Wirecard Group;
  25. whether persons within the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies had any special interests in the business success of the Wirecard Group and its expansion abroad, particularly in the People’s Republic of China; and, if so, what the nature of these interests was and to what extent the Wirecard Group received special treatment, if at all, as a result of this which was detrimental to the detection of possible criminal/administrative offences committed by persons acting on behalf of the Wirecard Group and possible breaches of accounting and auditing standards by the Wirecard Group;
  26. whether – and, if so, to what extent – persons within the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies advocated cooperation with the Wirecard Group when communicating with official authorities of foreign states;
  27. whether – and, if so, to what extent – the Wirecard Group was treated differently, in the context of supervisory or auditing measures (e.g. in terms of its (non-)classification as a payment service provider, electronic money institution or financial holding company for the purposes of banking supervision), to other companies in similar situations, which could indicate special treatment that may have helped to make it more difficult to detect possible criminal/administrative offences committed by persons acting on behalf of the Wirecard Group and possible breaches of accounting and auditing standards by the Wirecard Group;
  28. whether – and, if so, what – information and findings were available to the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies regarding potential communication between the Wirecard Group and the management level or staff of Land authorities on matters relating to the subject of this inquiry;
  29. whether – and, if so, what – information and findings were available to the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies regarding any activities in support of the Wirecard Group carried out by representatives of Land governments and/or their executive agencies;
  30. whether – and, if so, what – information was available to intelligence services and/or other federal security authorities or their supervisory authorities about the Wirecard Group, including persons acting on behalf of the Wirecard Group; and additionally, what conclusions were reached and what steps were taken, if any, as a result of this information;
  31. what links, if any, existed between the Wirecard Group and federal intelligence services, and to what extent, if any, the Wirecard Group provided services for federal intelligence services;
  32. to what extent the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies has any information about financial links between the Wirecard Group and German public authorities, e.g. about the issuing of credit cards;
  33. whether persons within the federal intelligence services had special interests in the business success of the Wirecard Group and its expansion abroad and, if so, what the nature of these interests was and to what extent the Wirecard Group received special treatment as a result of this which was detrimental to the detection of possible criminal/administrative offences committed by persons acting on behalf of the Wirecard Group and possible breaches of accounting and auditing standards by the Wirecard Group;
  34. to what extent the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies knew of possible links between Jan Marsalek, the Wirecard Group or other persons acting on behalf of the Wirecard Group and foreign public authorities;
  35. to what extent the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies knew of possible links between Jan Marsalek, the Wirecard Group or other persons acting on behalf of the Wirecard Group and Libya;
  36. to what extent the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies knew of possible financial links between the Wirecard Group and/or persons acting on its behalf and foreign mercenary groups, as well as any foreign public authorities or their representatives;
  37. to what extent the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies had information about the circumstances of the death of the former Wirecard manager Christopher Reinhard Bauer;
  38. what role, if any, Klaus-Dieter Fritsche, former State Secretary at the Federal Chancellery and Commissioner for the Federal Intelligence Services, had in relation to the Wirecard Group and what communication, if any, took place between him and persons in the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies regarding the Wirecard Group;
  39. to what extent, if any, Klaus-Dieter Fritsche received authorisation from the Federal Government for any activities relating to the Wirecard Group and to what extent, if any, the Federal Government examined whether these activities could cause a conflict of interest as a result of the positions previously held by Mr Fritsche;
  40. whether – and, if so, what – information and findings, if any, were available to the Federal Government and/or its executive agencies about breaches of secrecy and/or confidentiality obligations in connection with the collapse of the Wirecard Group;
  41. whether – and, if so, what – information and findings, if any, were available to the Federal Government and its executive agencies with regard to “round tripping” by the Wirecard Group;
  42. whether – and, if so, what – information and findings, if any, were available to the Federal Government and its executive agencies about the Wirecard Group’s lending practices (e.g. loans to leaders of the Wirecard Group, strategic lending);
  43. whether – and, if so, what – information and findings, if any, were available to the Federal Government and its executive agencies about the Wirecard Group’s borrowing (e.g. loans from banking consortiums, the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, etc.);
  44. whether – and, if so, what – information and findings, if any, were available to the Federal Government and its executive agencies about acquisitions or planned acquisitions of other groups or companies by the Wirecard Group or by entities in the Wirecard Group;
  45. whether – and, if so, what – information and findings, if any, were available to the Federal Government and its executive agencies about whether supervisory board members and/or the management level of entities in the Wirecard Group met fit and proper person requirements;
  46. whether – and, if so, what – information and findings, if any, were available to the Federal Government and its executive agencies about the question of whether the sales revenues / referral revenues from its “third-party acquiring” business listed by the Wirecard Group in its consolidated reporting actually existed in the stated amount or not, and whether, in this context, payments totalling 1.9 billion euros were made to escrow accounts for the benefit of the Wirecard Group or not;
  47. whether – and, if so, what – weaknesses exist in the corporate governance system which may have enabled or fostered events connected to the insolvency of companies in the Wirecard Group, as well as possible criminal/administrative offences committed by persons acting on behalf of the Wirecard Group and possible breaches of accounting and auditing standards by the Wirecard Group;
  48. to what extent and when the Federal Chancellor and Federal Ministers, Ministers of State, State Secretaries and/or other persons from the leadership of the departments of the Federal Government and the leadership of the Federal Government’s executive agencies personally engaged with the matters which are the subject of this inquiry, and when they were personally notified about these matters.

IV.    The Committee of Inquiry will also examine, and provide recommendations:

  1. on the extent to which conclusions can and should be drawn from the collapse of the Wirecard Group with regard to a reform of financial supervision in terms of powers, organisation, work and cooperation with other supervisory authorities, law enforcement agencies, tax authorities and security authorities at federal and Land level;
  2. on the extent to which conclusions can and should be drawn, particularly in view of the key importance of the reliability of auditor-certified financial statements for financial supervision and stock market supervision, with regard to a reform of auditing and financial reporting enforcement, especially with regard to the independence of accountants and auditors, the separation of advisory and auditing services, auditors’ liability and the aim of audits and accounting, and on the extent to which there is a need for supervisory reform (Auditor Oversight Body (APAS), etc.);
  3. on the extent to which conclusions can and should be drawn from the collapse of the Wirecard Group with regard to a reform of money laundering supervision or an update to the Anti-Money Laundering Directive in terms of powers, organisation, work and cooperation with other supervisory authorities, law enforcement agencies, tax authorities and security authorities at federal and Land level;
  4. on the extent to which conclusions can and should be drawn with regard to effective law enforcement in accounting fraud cases;
  5. on the extent to which conclusions can and should be drawn with regard to the introduction of rules on or the disclosure of exchanges which have taken place between interest representatives and the Federal Government and its executive agencies (e.g. in the form of a lobby register).

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