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Wirecard administrator eyes piece-by-piece sell-off

Frankfurt am Main

THE unprecedented scandal at German payments processor Wirecard could lead to the group being sold off piecemeal, after its insolvency administrator said investors are eyeing profitable business units.

A provisional committee of Wirecard creditors signed off on an international search for buyers on Tuesday and confirmed lawyer Michael Jaffe as administrator.

"Many investors from all over the world have already signalled interest in buying the core business or independent business areas that are successful on the market," Mr Jaffe said in a statement on Tuesday.

US-based Wirecard North America had earlier said it was hunting for an external buyer. Still listed on the blue-chip DAX index, Wirecard shares tumbled around 99 per cent last week to trade at around one euro by Friday, but have rebounded early this week to almost six euros as speculators bet on its break-up.

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The group filed for insolvency on Thursday but said it would continue trading.

Former chief executive and founder Markus Braun was bailed for five million euros (S$7.8 million) last week after reporting to prosecutors over charges of falsifying accounts.

Meanwhile, former chief operating officer Jan Marsalek failed to turn himself in to Munich investigators despite an earlier promise to do so, with his whereabouts unclear after he travelled to the Philippines.

Mr Marsalek was responsible for the Asia business that became the focus of accounting irregularities that ultimately brought Wirecard down. AFP

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