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When Regulation Fails: Journalism & the Fight Against Financial Crime

The Fenergo FinTalks podcast is where we connect our listeners to the latest in RegTech, compliance, and anti-money laundering (AML) activity.  

In this episode, we talk about the investigation that exposed the $30 billion Wirecard fraud with the journalist who uncovered the crime. And explore the challenges faced by journalists and whistle blowers in exposing corporate wrongdoing.

We’re joined by special guest Dan McCrum, Investigative Reporter at the Financial Times responsible for bringing the Wirecard scandal to light. 

The Financial Times is one of the world’s leading business news organisations, recognised internationally for its authority, integrity, and accuracy. But, in their mission to expose the crimes of “Germany’s PayPal,” both McCrum and his associates came up against the wrath of Germany’s financial regulator, BaFin, and intimidation tactics from those who stood the most to lose from Wirecard’s inevitable collapse.

In this episode of FinTalks, Dan and our host, Dhanum Nursigadoo, delve into the six years that Dan spent investigating allegations of fraud at the German payments fintech, eventually exposing a $30 billion accounting scandal. Despite threats and intimidation from Wirecard and its supporters, Dan's persistence and the support of his editors at the Financial Times ultimately helped uncover one of the largest corporate frauds in European history. 

Together, the duo highlight the importance of AML regulations, as well as:

  • How regulators and auditors failed to detect Wirecard’s fraud earlier 
  • The challenges Dan faced as a journalist investigating the story, including threats and intimidation
  • The importance of trust between journalists, editors, and sources
  • The need for transparency around beneficial ownership information

"While he's a finance executive by day, by night it turns out he has all these other interests. He's hanging out with Russian mercenaries and Libyan spies and he's trying to put together a border force in North Africa. I mean, our minds slightly exploded at that point, and you start to think, 'holy mackerel, are these guys protected? What is really going on here?’” – Dan McCrum (on Jan Marsalek, the Ex Chief Operating Officer of Wirecard)

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