High-profile activist investor TCI files criminal complaint against Wirecard

e-payments

TCI Fund Management, the high-profile activist hedge fund firm led by Sir Chris Hohn, has filed a criminal complaint against Wirecard AG, the Munich-headquartered electronic payment processing company.

In a letter this week, TCI alleged that an independent KPMG audit published by Wirecard on 28 April, along with reporting by the Financial Times and WirtschaftsWoche, revealed “anomalies that may have criminal relevance.”

London-based TCI filed the complaint against Wirecard with public prosecutors in Munich. Wirecard denies all allegations of wrongdoing.

The charge relates to the purchase of Hermes I Tickets Pte Ltd in India, the so-called “third-party acquiring business”, as well as the granting of loans within the scope of the so-called “merchant cash advance business”, TCI’s note read.

The challenge follows calls from the activist investor last month for Wirecard’s supervisory board to remove CEO Markus Braun.

“In our opinion, the necessary intervention is now to remove the CEO from all management duties,” Hohn wrote in a letter to Wirecard on 28 April, after KPMG said it could not verify Wirecard’s accounts.

Braun later apologised to Wirecard shareholders on 8th May, as the firm announced an overhaul of its management board.

TCI also revealed a net short position of 1.53 per cent in Wirecard, whose share price has tumbled sharply in recent weeks, from almost EUR141 on 23 April to just over EUR86 on Wednesday.

TCI disclosed the short position to the relevant competent authority, German market regulator BaFin, and published it in the Federal Gazette.

The Children’s Investment Fund Management (TCI) was founded by Sir Chris Hohn alongside Patrick Degorce in 2003. The USD24 billion activist giant made 41 per cent last year.