German lawmakers grill Merkel over Wirecard scandal
DW, 23 Apr 2021
Angela Merkel faced questions today over one of Germany's largest corporate scandals. The chancellor testified before a parliamentary committee that's investigating the collapse of the payment processing company Wirecard.
Lawmakers want to know why Merkel continued to promote the German company abroad, despite multiple allegations of wrongdoing. Her appearance marks the climax of a public inquiry into an affair that has tainted Germany's reputation for following the rules. It has exposed ties between politics and business – and prompted several resignations and criminal investigations.
Merkel defended her promotion of Wirecard during a trip to China almost two years ago.
She told the closed-door parliamentary committee that the Sept. 2019 trip came before there was reason to assume problems with the company other than 'speculation' and that Berlin often touts its businesses overseas. Wirecard, a one-time investor darling, collapsed in 2020 after conceding it couldn't account for 1.9 billion euros of listed assets. Its accounting irregularities had been widely reported by the Financial Times for years heating up in spring 2019.
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