D.he Southeast Asian financial center Singapore reports an initial success in its action against the collapsed German financial service provider Wirecard: The British businessman James Henry O’Sullivan was brought before a Singapore court on Wednesday via video link. He is accused of instigating Shanmugaratnam Rajaratnam, the head of the accounting firm Citadelle Corporate Services in Peninsula Plaza on the outskirts of Singapore’s financial district, to forge a document.
Citadelle worked for Wirecard for years. The Briton, who was arrested on Monday in Singapore and is considered a confidante of the former Wirecard board member Jan Marsalek, who was in hiding, is said to have stopped the Citadelle boss from sending a letter from his company to a Wirecard subsidiary under the name Cardsystems Middle East FZ to have. The Briton lives with his family in the wealthy city-state, his wife works there and his daughters went to school in Singapore, according to the state newspaper The Straits Times.
In the letter, Citadelle is said to have confirmed that it had held a value of 86.4 million euros in an escrow account at the end of 2016 – which was not true. The 46-year-old’s lawyer asked for his release on bail, after all he had helped the Singapore authorities, who are known to be very strict, in their investigations. The public prosecutor and judge refused bail with reference to an impending risk of blackout. O’Sullivan could contact other suspects and would have to stay in custody for at least a week. Another trial will take place on September 8th.
The first trial against Shanmugaratnam followed on September 23. He had only left Citadelle in July this year, but continues to hold other director positions in the city. The 55-year-old is accused of a total of 14 crimes with a financial volume of 1.2 billion euros. If found guilty, he faces a long sentence in Singapore’s Changi Prison. The prosecution suspects that the Citadelle boss has written a total of 14 letters to the German Wirecard AG, its subsidiaries and auditors. In them, he is said to have spoken of Wirecard’s trust accounts at Citadelle between 2015 and 2017. But all of them never existed, explain the investigators.
In June last year, Wirecard AG collapsed after it became apparent that 1.9 billion euros were missing from their accounts. In the huge fraud case, their shareholders lost at least 20 billion euros. Banks and major investors complain about a loss of more than 3 billion euros. The central bank of Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), had only closed Wirecard Singapore at the end of September last year. Wirecard processed payment transactions for more than 1900 customers, from cafes to large hotel chains.