Claims that compensation is owed to investors by Big Four auditor EY as a result of its handling of the Wirecard scandal have reignited concerns about how far investors can trust auditing work completed on investee companies, and has renewed calls for change in market practices.
Wirecard scandal timeline
2008 German shareholder association suggests balance sheet irregularities. EY is appointed to conduct a special audit and replaces previous group auditor.
2015 FT notes inconsistencies in Wirecard's accounts and an apparent €250m gap in the group's balance sheet.
• Wirecard claims a J Capital Research report, which alleged that the group's Asian operations were far smaller than officially stated, was paid for by short sellers.
2016 German regulator Bafin instigates a market manipulation investigation into short sellers who published a dossier of money laundering allegations against Wirecard.
2017 EY publishes a clean audit of Wirecard, noting an improvement in reported cash generation. Wirecard share value more than doubles.
2018 Wirecard shares peak at €191, valuing the group at more than €24bn, as it replaces Commerzbank in the Dax 30 index.
2019 FT reports that internal investigation in Wirecard's Singapore office has been quashed, prompting the group to deny the story and Bafin to investigate the newspaper.
• Singapore police raid Wirecard's Singapore office
• Reports then emerge that half of Wirecard's business is outsourced, with payments processing partners paying Wirecard commission, leading to the group announcing its intension to sue the FT newspaper.
• EY signs off on 2018 reports.
• Documents emerge indicating that profits at two Wirecard units were fraudulently inflated, and that customers listed to EY did not exist.
2020 Delayed special audit from KPMG reveals that the auditor could not identify if much of Wirecard's 2016-2018 profits were genuine. There is also a query as to €1bn of cash balances.
• On 18 June, in lieu of publishing its audited results for 2019, Wirecard announces that €1.9bn is "missing".