Commerzbank fires its former Wirecard analyst

Heike Pauls had briefed managers at payment group about hedge fund’s criticism

Wirecard collapsed after it disclosed that €1.9 billion of corporate cash did not exist. Photograph: Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images

Wirecard collapsed after it disclosed that €1.9 billion of corporate cash did not exist. Photograph: Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images

 

Commerzbank has fired its former Wirecard analyst Heike Pauls after emails showed that she had briefed the disgraced payment company’s management about criticism of it that a hedge fund had shared with her.

The German lender said in a statement on Tuesday that it had “terminated the employment relationship [with Ms Pauls]” and declined to comment further. Ms Pauls did not immediately respond to a request for comment on her dismissal, which was first reported by German business newspaper Handelsblatt.

Ms Pauls had been one of the most bullish supporters of Wirecard, which collapsed after it disclosed that €1.9 billion of corporate cash did not exist, in one of Germany’s biggest postwar accounting frauds.

She had recommended buying the shares in the Munich-based group right up until its insolvency last summer.

Last month an email by Ms Pauls emerged showing that, in 2016, she shared information gathered during a call with Greenvale Capital, a London-based hedge fund, with Wirecard’s then chief financial officer Burkhard Ley and Iris Stöckl, who was the group’s head of communications. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2021