Germany underlines whistleblower role in financial oversight overhaul

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Berlin

Germany on Tuesday announced an overhaul of its finance watchdog Bafin, saying the new-look supervisory agency will privilege the “valuable” role of whistleblowers in preventing a repeat of scandals like Wirecard.

Digital payments company Wirecard, once a rising star in the fintech sector, filed for bankruptcy last June after admitting that 1.9 billion euros ($2.1 billion) was missing from its accounts. The dramatic collapse of the company has been described by Finance Minister Olaf Scholz as “unparalleled” in Germany.

The massive scam has put intense scrutiny on Bafin, which has been accused of lax oversight and of missing early warning signs that allowed the accounting fraud to go on for years.Bafin chief Felix Hufeld stepped down late last week, with Scholz announcing that a planned revamp of the supervisory agency would be accompanied by “a fresh start” at the top.—AFP