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Global Economy

Wirecard star witness received millions for involvement in suspected fraud

The key witness and co-defendant in the Wirecard trial is said to have received 4.8 million euros for his involvement in the alleged billion-euro fraud, Oliver Bellenhaus testified before the Munich Regional Court.

    The key witness and co-defendant in the Wirecard trial is said to have received 4.8 million euros for his involvement in the alleged billion-euro fraud. Oliver Bellenhaus testified in front of the Munich Regional Court.

A gang of fraudsters on the board and executive floor of the Wirecard Group is said to have cheated lenders out of over three billion euros. In the Munchner trial, the presiding judge asks the prosecution's key witness a simple question: "What benefit did you get from it?"

According to the prosecution's witness, his participation in the alleged Wirecard billion-euro fraud brought in 4.8 million euros. The manager Oliver Bellenhaus, who worked in Dubai from 2013 to 2020, received this sum as a one-time payment, diverted from company funds and bypassing payroll accounting. Bellenhaus estimated his original monthly salary on Thursday in the Wirecard criminal case at 13,000 euros.

"The salary that I received from Wirecard was far from appropriate for my position," said Bellenhaus on Thursday before the fourth criminal chamber of the Munich I Regional Court. The manager, who had been in custody for more than two and a half years, was in custody until the collapse of the scandalous group in the summer 2020 Managing Director of the subsidiary Cardsystems Middle East in Dubai.

Key witness Bellenhaus demanded a salary increase – and received a "one-off special payment"

According to Bellenhaus, he asked for a salary increase, he had an annual salary of 900,000 to 950,000 euros in mind. Sales director Jan Marsalek rejected this – and instead proposed a "one-off special payment" of 4.8 million euros. Bellenhaus invested the money in a foundation in Liechtenstein.

The defense attorneys for former CEO Markus Braun have accused Bellenhaus of diverting amounts in the hundreds of millions from the group. Bellenhaus rejected this several times. He also did not own Wirecard shares: "That would have been a bad investment."

Key witness claims to have slipped into fraud

According to his own account, he gradually slipped into the fraud over the years, but didn't want to break away or face the public prosecutor's office: "When I went in somewhere, I've never gone backwards out and cried."

At Wirecard, a large part of the bogus business with invented payment services ran via Dubai. Over the years, according to Bellenhaus, the effort involved in inventing sham sales became so great that real business was hardly possible any more: "There was no longer any time to deal with customers."

Bellenhaus has been on trial since December together with the former CEO Markus Braun and the former chief accountant. According to the indictment, they have falsified the balance sheets of the payment service provider since 2015 and cheated lending banks by 3.1 billion euros. (dpa/tas)

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