23:32 GMT05 May 2021
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    Braun quit the German fintech firm Wirecard on Friday after nearly 20 years as the company's CEO. His departure came in the wake of a shock disclosure that $2.1 billion went missing from the company and auditors could not locate the cash.

    Markus Braun, the now-former chief executive of Wirecard, has been arrested amid an investigation into the company's missing funds, the Munich public prosecutor's office confirms.

    Prosecutors said Braun turned himself in on Monday evening and will appear before a judge later in the day who will decide on whether he will remain in custody.

    The businessman resigned on Friday as the search for the vanished cash – $2.1 billion, or a quarter of Wirecard's total balance sheet – hit a dead end in the Philippines. The country's central bank said none of the money appeared to have entered its financial system, and auditors Ernst & Young refused to approve Wirecard's 2019 accounts.

    Braun suggested, before resigning, that the payments firm may have been the victim of fraud, but prosecutors suspect that he overstated the balance sheet and revenues to lure in investors and customers.

    The company said on Monday that the missing cash likely never existed, and withdrew its full-year 2019 financial results and first-quarter 2020 earnings report. The ongoing scandal has eliminated 85 percent of Wirecard's share value, or $12.5 billion in market value.

    Wirecard, which processes payments for companies including Visa and Mastercard, was considered among the most promising European fintech firms, but its image was first dented by a 2019 report that it had used forged and backdated contracts for several suspicious transactions. The German-based firm at the time denied the allegations, but its shares slumped on the news.

    Tags:
    Wirecard, Markus Braun, prosecutors, Munich, Investigation, Germany
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