By Oliver Towfigh Nia
BERLIN (AA) – The former chief executive of the German payment service company Wirecard has gone on trial in Munich for his alleged role in what is believed to be the biggest fraud case in German history, public television broadcaster ARD reported on Thursday.
The public prosecutor's office accused ex-Wirecard CEO Markus Braun and two co-defendants of falsifying the group's balance sheets and cheating lenders out of €3.1 billion ($3.26 billion).
Braun rejected the allegations and instead blamed Jan Marsalek, former chief operating officer, who is on the run.
The co-defendant, former head of the Wirecard subsidiary in Dubai, Oliver Bellenhaus, however, serves as a key witness for the public prosecutor. The third accused, Stephan Erffa, was the chief accountant at the time.
The accused face several years in jail if convicted.
Wirecard was considered a successful technology group that made it into the German stock index until its collapse in 2020. The company, however, was allegedly involved in loan fraud schemes which resulted in billions of lost money.