CAD, MAS probe Singapore firms over Wirecard scandal

PUBLISHED

JUL 4, 2020, 5:00 AM SGT

Citadelle, Senjo and its units under suspicion of falsifying accounts, carrying on a trust business without a licence

Poon Chian Hui

The Singapore police and the central bank are investigating several local companies in relation to the Wirecard scandal.

Citadelle Corporate Services and Senjo Group and its subsidiaries are under suspicion of falsifying accounts and carrying on a trust business without a licence, said the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) yesterday.

This comes after a June 29 announcement that MAS and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority are working with the CAD to scrutinise recent developments relating to Wirecard, which has filed for insolvency in Germany amid a growing accounting scandal.

“The review surfaced reasons to suspect that offences may have been committed,” said the authorities.

“CAD and MAS have obtained documents and records from Citadelle and Senjo, and have interviewed persons involved in the companies.”

CAD, which deals with white-collar crime, began investigations into Wirecard’s Singapore operations in February last year.

It also raided Wirecard’s local offices at Mapletree Business City following fraud allegations.

Wirecard went bankrupt last month after disclosing that US$2.1 billion (S$2.93 billion) of cash that was supposed to be in bank accounts in the Philippines probably did not exist.

Citadelle was drawn into the spotlight after a Filipino lawyer said he opened six euro bank accounts in the name of his law firm, MKT Law, on behalf of Citadelle Corporate.

The accounts were supposedly for Wirecard.

Company records show that Citadelle Corporate is a business administration company based in Singapore.

Providing trust services as a business in Singapore is regulated by MAS.

“Citadelle is not licensed to provide trust business services in Singapore, and is not supervised by MAS,” said the CAD and MAS.

MAS has also put Citadelle on the investor alert list on its website.

Senjo Group’s website states that it is a global payments operator and financial tech investor headquartered in Singapore, with a portfolio of 20 companies.

Meanwhile, sources say that Pine Labs, the Indian payments firm backed by Singapore’s investment company Temasek, is considering a bid for fallen fintech star Wirecard’s businesses in South-east Asia and India, Bloomberg reported yesterday.

A potential bid is reportedly still at an exploratory stage, according to Bloomberg, as there is no information available yet on the valuation and finances of Wirecard’s Asian operations.

Several of Wirecard’s subsidiaries – including those in Asia – were not part of the insolvency filing. Pine Labs processes US$30 billion of payments a year and serves some 140,000 merchants, according to the company’s website.

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