Missing $2.1bn do not exist, says scandal-hit payments firm Wirecard

Scandal-hit Germany-based digital payments firm Wirecard said on Monday that 1.9 billion euros (nearly $2.1 billion) that were supposed to be in its accounts simply do not exist at all.

The missing money accounts for around a quarter of the company’s total balance sheet, reports the BBC.

“The Management Board of Wirecard assesses on the basis of further examination that there is a prevailing likelihood that the bank trust account balances in the amount of 1.9 billion EUR do not exist,” the company said in a statement.

Wirecard stock nosedived in early trading on Monday. The stock has lost more than 85 per cent in three days, bringing its market valuation to less than 2 billion euros from nearly 24 billion euros two years ago when it was at its peak.

Company CEO Markus Braun resigned on Friday after global market consulting firm EY said the cash, which makes up roughly a quarter of the company’s assets, could not be located.

The central bank of Philippines said none of the money appears to have entered the country’s financial system. The central bank said on Sunday it has now opened an investigation.

The German firm said it was withdrawing its financial results for 2019 and the first quarter of 2020.

According to CNN, Wirecard is now “scrambling to find the money to keep creditors at bay”.

Founded in 1999, Wirecard was once considered one of the most promising tech firms in Europe. It processes payments for consumers and businesses, and sells data analytics services.

The company has nearly 6,000 employees in 26 countries around the world.