Former Wirecard CFO released on bail after three months in prison

Burkhard Ley is one of four former executives of the German payments company arrested in July following the group’s collapse

Wirecard's former chief financial officer Burkhard Ley, who held the role for more than a decade, has been released on bail after spending more than three months in police custody, Munich prosecutors said on Monday.

Mr Ley, who was Wirecard’s CFO between 2006 and 2017, was one of four former executives of the German payments company who were arrested in July following the group’s collapse in one of the country’s biggest accounting frauds since the second World War.

Three other suspects – former chief executive Markus Braun, former head of accounting Stephan von Erffa, and Oliver Bellenhaus, who headed a Dubai-based Wirecard subsidiary – remain in custody. The prosecutors have accused all four of fraud, embezzlement and market manipulation.

Munich prosecutors said Mr Ley was released on bail because their ongoing investigation had so far suggested that most of the alleged misconduct happened after late 2017, by which time he had left the company’s management board.


“According to the prosecutor’s point of view, essential crimes, which caused significant damage, were conducted after [Mr Ley] \retired from the management board,” the prosecutors said in a statement.

The prosecutors added that compared with the other suspects in custody the risk that Mr Ley, whose assets have been seized, may tamper with evidence or go on the run was lower.

Wirecard’s former CFO is also facing “extensive bail terms”, which the prosecutors declined to disclose in detail.

A lawyer for Mr Ley could not immediately be reached for comment.

Chief witness

Mr Bellenhaus has turned into a chief witness and is co-operating with the prosecutors. Mr Braun, Mr Ley and Mr von Erffa deny wrongdoing. Nobody has been yet been charged as the criminal investigation is ongoing.

Mr Braun was first arrested in mid-June but initially released on a €5 million bail. He was rearrested a month later after the prosecutors significantly widened the allegations against him.

Munich prosecutors are still searching for Wirecard's former chief operating officer Jan Marsalek, who disappeared shortly after the company disclosed on June 18th that it was missing €1.9 billion in cash. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2020