The Wirecard Debacle: Shades of Enron and WorldCom
Individual market cycles, and particularly their crescendos and finales, have unique characteristics that we use to categorize and differentiate them from other past cycles – the dotcom bubble, the housing crisis, and now, potentially the COVID crisis. One thing that they all have in common, though, is the failure of major companies from either mismanagement or fraud. In this interview, Roddy Boyd of the Foundation for Financial Journalism and Real Vision’s Ed Harrison examine financial impropriety through the lens of Wirecard, the German mobile payments company that has transitioned from a source of German pride to an embarrassment, exposing shoddy work by the lawyers, auditors and regulators tasked with investigating potential frauds and protecting the public. Whether Wirecard is in fact a fraud seems to be clearer with every passing day, but many questions still remain – will the bad actors both inside and outside the company be held accountable, will the company go belly up or be saved by governments increasingly willing to protect companies that are “too big to fail”, and will Wirecard be another shining example of the malfeasance and mismanagement that always seems to be exposed at the end of a market cycle? Filmed on June 24, 2020.