Investigations against Financial Times journalists

The public prosecutor’s office in Munich is investigating a journalist of the Financial Times. An investor claims to have been provided with insider information from the journalist before a negative press report about the German company Wirecard.

inside information

Share price turbulence at Wirecard

The German company Wirecard AG is one of the largest providers of products and services in the areas of mobile payment, e-commerce, digitization and financial technology. The company benefits greatly from the worldwide shift of payment flows to the Internet. Already in 2008 and 2016, it has become the target of so-called short attacks.

Short attacks are an attempt to make short selling more lucrative. The sellers borrow share certificates, for example shares for a fee, and sell them on the market. If the share price falls, the shares can be bought back at a lower price and returned to the actual owner at a predetermined time. The stronger the price falls, the greater the short seller’s profit.

Suspicion of inside information

A short seller has filed a criminal complaint with the public prosecutor’s office in Munich against a journalist of the Financial Times. The Financial Times reported on suspicions of accounting violations and money laundering at a Wirecard branch in Singapore. The short seller claims to have been informed before the negative coverage of the article.

Such information is worth cash for the short seller. He knows that such negative reporting will lead to a drop in prices. He can therefore align his market activities accordingly.

Reaction of the authorities

The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority BaFin has prohibited new speculations on falling Wirecard share prices in order to minimize the risk of market uncertainty.

The public prosecutor’s office in Munich has started investigations. The company Wirecard rejects the accusations made by the Financial Times.

It remains to be seen whether the journalist has actually committed a crime. First of all, it must be clarified whether there has actually been a violation of the German Securities Trading Act.