🔒 Alec Hogg: Wirecard, Steinhoff and the professionals who facilitate fraudulent activities

The latest FT Weekend dedicated two pages to the story behind the newspaper’s exposé of the Wirecard Fraud – a scandal with parallels to Steinhoff in scale of investor losses, its location (Germany) and fellows called Markus (in this case, Braun). That’s where similarities end. Almost three years after being exposed, Steinhoff’s crooks are very much still at large. Eight months after Wirecard’s cover was comprehensively blown, its executives are either in jail or on the run.

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The newspaper’s weekend report by FT investigative journalist Dan McCrum unpacks his five year pursuit of Wirecard. It chronicles some astonishing cornered-rat responses by the financial deviants whose fiction was believed by the European establishment. For most of his odyssey McCrum was branded a “dirty journalist” who’d used the FT’s platform to help short-sellers profit from his negative stories about Wirecard. Such was the power of Wirecard’s disinformation campaign, even FT’s then editor-in-chief Lionel Barber brought in an external legal firm to investigate McCrum and colleague Paul Murphy.

Courageous McCrum’s tenacity eventually paid off. His reputation is now restored and the newspaper’s new editor provided him acres of space to share the sordid tale. McCrum doesn’t hold back, naming major companies which facilitated Wirecard’s criminality: London legal firms Schillings and Herbert Smith Freehills, auditors EY; and reputation managers FTI Consulting. Sadly, many Wirecard-type scams never surface because the corrupt tend to leverage their stolen financial firepower to hire fee-chasing profession firms like those named above.
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Read also: Alec Hogg: ‘Nothing, not even tech stocks, keeps rising indefinitely’

It’s these professional facilitators against which ace local crimefighter Paul O’Sullivan (below) rails publicly and often. Like McCrumb, the founder of SA’s Forensics for Justice is a powerful force for good. O’Sullivan is the inaugural guest in the biographical half-hour podcast we’re calling The Alec Hogg Show. The episode is now available – click here to listen. And be inspired.

Paul O'Sullivan

 

For your attention today:

* As always on a Monday, a new episode of the Ramaphosa biography is now available for your listening pleasure. Click here to access Chapter Six: https://iono.fm/c/5507

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