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Former Wirecard CEO Markus Braun was arrested in Germany



How the Wirecard scandal unfolded
Munich prosecutors confirmed Tuesday that Braun, the former CEO of Wirecard, was arrested on suspicion of inflating the balance sheet and sales of digital payment companies through fake transactions to make it more attractive to investors and customers. The prosecutor said that Braun might act in collaboration with other perpetrators.
Wirecard (WCAGY) acknowledged on Monday that € 1.9 billion ($ 2.1 billion) in cash included in the financial statements – or about a quarter of the assets – may not have been there from the start. The company drew preliminary results for 2019, first quarter 2020 and estimated earnings for 2020.

The scandal erupted last week when Wirecard said that its auditor, EY, could not find the funds in a trust account and refused to sign the company’s financial results.

Braun resigned as CEO on Friday, suggesting the company might be a victim of massive fraud. Jan Marsalek, board member and chief operating officer at Wirecard, fired on Monday.

Founded in 1999, Wirecard was once considered one of the most promising technology companies in Europe. It processes payments for consumers and businesses, and sells data analysis services. The company has nearly 6,000 employees in 26 countries around the world.

Braun, an Austrian who also serves as head of Wirecard technology, has led the company since 2002. The former KPMG consultant is the company’s largest shareholder, with ownership of just over 7%, according to data from Refinitiv.

Wirecard grew quickly with Braun at the helm. The company reported revenues of more than € 2 billion ($ 2.2 billion) in 2018, or more than four times that of 2013. Shares reached an all-time high above € 190 ($ 213) in September 2018, in the same month the Wirecard was replaced Commerzbank (CRZBF) in the list of top 30 German companies. At that point, the value is more than € 24 billion ($ 26.9 billion).

The company now faces an existential crisis. A panicked search for lost money stalled over a weekend in the Philippines, where the central bank denied cash had entered the country’s financial system. The company’s shares plummeted on Monday, extending a crash that wiped out 85% of its share price over three trading sessions. Wirecard ended the day with a market value of € 1.7 billion ($ 1.9 billion).

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Wirecard tried hard to protect creditors, a task that might be complicated by the arrest of his former CEO. The company said late Friday that it had hired investment bank Houlihan Lokey to come up with a new financing strategy.

The explosion followed 18 months of turmoil for the company interspersed with accusations of fraud, attacks by short sellers and questions over accounting practices.

The success story began to unravel in January 2019, when the Financial Times reported that Wirecard forged and canceled contracts in a series of suspicious transactions in Singapore. The company denied the report, which was produced with the help of the reporter, but its shares plummeted. In February 2019, authorities in Singapore said they would investigate.

Another blow landed late last year, when the FT published company reports and documents showing that profits and sales had increased at Wirecard posts in Dubai and Ireland. Wirecard again denied the accusation. But an investigation by KPMG published in April found that the company did not provide enough information to fully explain the problem raised by the FT.

Braun reported to prosecutors on Monday night after a warrant was issued for his arrest. According to prosecutors, a judge will decide on Tuesday whether he should remain detained. The former CEO explained his decision to quit last week in a letter to employees and shareholders.

“Capital market confidence in the company that I have managed for 18 years has been severely shaken … I respect the fact that responsibility for all business transactions rests with the CEO,” Braun said.

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– Mark Thompson contributed reporting.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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