The businessman, who has been listed as a director or company secretary to approximately 400 companies in the city-state-has multiple ties to Wirecard, said the FT report. The suspect is considered a key figure in an alleged multiyear fraud, accused of playing the role of trustee for fake bank accounts, which Wirecard told auditors were filled with cash. The charge made has been ‘falsification of accounts’, marking the first set of charges issued by the city-state since it kicked off an investigation into the collapsed German payments company last year.
According to the FT and other news sources, Singapore police’s commercial affairs department last month charged Mr Shanmugaratnam with falsifying “willfully and with intent to defraud” letters to Wirecard saying that his company, Citadelle Corporate Services, was holding hundreds of millions of euros in escrow accounts “when in fact [they] did not hold such balance”, according to charge sheets.
The businessman is even registered in the UK with Companies House, as an accountant. Links to Citadelle and Wirecard have also been found under company account filings.
The plot thickens
In another strange twist to the financial debacle, The Straits Times has also reported that the Philippines Justice Department is investigating whether a former Asia Wirecard executive has died, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Friday (Aug 7).
According to the report, the Justice Department is verifying if the person named “Christopher Reinhard Bauer” who reportedly died last week is the same person as the ex-Wirecard official who is part of an ongoing investigation into fraud. Also part of the investigation is to find out the cause of death, Guevarra said.
“We are now securing a copy of the deceased’s death certificate, burial permit, and other relevant records in order to confirm if he is the same person subject of the ongoing investigation,” Guevarra said.
There are public filings, according to news reports, linking a Christopher Bauer in the Philippines to a tour bus operator called Froelich.
Philippine money-laundering investigators have identified more than 50 people and entities of interest in the Wirecard case, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Frankfurt-based Commerzbank AG and ING Group in the Netherlands each took a hit of 175 million euros ($207 million), more than half of their profit for the second quarter. Credit Agricole, the French financial institution, suffered a loss of about 110 million euros ($130.6 million), according to PYMTS.com.