Skandal! Bringing Down Wirecard (2022)

Upstart payment firm Wirecard wowed the financial industry with its runaway success — until a tenacious team of journalists exposed massive fraud.
  • 7.2 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2022-09-18 Added:
  • Writer:
  • James Erskine, Director:
  • Zora Kuettner, Producer:

Trailer:

9 / 10

A tale of sheer tenacity under immense pressure.

I had read about the reports that Dan McCrum published in the FT concerning Wirecard's nefarious activities, but didn't know the intricate details apart from the fact that he was put under immense pressure to retract his accusations both by Wirecard themselves (using lawyers and spooks), and by the German financial authorities.

This excellent documentary shows just how far the German authorities went to protect Wirecard because it was a home grown FinTech success story which blinded them to the fact that it was committing fraud on a massive scale.

The information I didn't know was how Russia was involved and why the company was founded in the first place.

Absolutely amazing documentary which shows just how far Russia had infiltrated into the German financial system, and I can guess into the London financial system too.

8 / 10

Entertaining, enveloping storyline that visualises as well as it reads

Having watched the Wirecard: A Billion Euro Lie Sky documentary earlier this year, I was interested to see how this James Erskine Netflix piece deviated from the original.

I'm pleasantly surprised as it takes an entirely different viewpoint, focusing mostly on the journalists, short sellers and MPs, rather than the former doc covering the whistleblowers and other influential parties.

What ensues is an interesting value-add to the Wirecard story that helps to elevate the already thrilling saga of accounting fraud. The focus on Dan McCrum and team adds flavour to the narrative that was missing in the Billion Euro Lie doc. I do wish the whistleblowers were interviewed at the same extent however - though I imagine this may have been down to pre-existing agreements that would conflict.

Overall, well worth a watch, and I'll await the third instalment of this documentary battle, coming from Amazon Prime, where they finally get Jan Marsalek to show his face.

5 / 10

A bit short...

If you want to know the reason why people hate short sellers this film will give you a good idea. The cartoon character in his Cannes pile bemoaning what he didn't make by literally doing nothing is a perfect example. Their's, and the journalists glee at bringing down a company that employed thousands of people, and hundreds of thousands of investors, is quite hard to stomach. No doubt the company was dodgy to say the least but neither party were working for the good of mankind. The short sellers thinking only of the profit to be made by destroying the business, and the journalists revenge for having the tables turned on them. As a film it's well made and if you don't know the story worth the effort, personally I can't get over the unsurpassed delight at seeing the business fail.

6 / 10

Interesting - a bit too full

A very interesting documentary. Intense too, and challenging. You really have to concentrate to get everything. A bit too hard to follow sometimes maybe, the documentary sometimes opens pots it never closes, for example the investigation of the BaFin in the FT-Journalists. It is mentioned but no more.

Leaves many questions unanswered. What was the role of the german regulators, why didn't they see anything and so on. But that is okay because it's a documentary out of the perspective of the FT-Journalists and these POV is - as I said - very interesting. At this point a special remark on the music which I really loved.

2 / 10

Another conspiracy theory

How to understand that you are watching a Netflix movie.

If this is a feature film, then there will be mediocre actors who were recruited according to racial and gender quotas.

If this is a documentary investigation, then the ultra-right and Russians are completely to blame.

Throughout the film, they tried to convince me that this was a conspiracy of Russian spies, and the director of the company, Markus Braun, was just an accidental victim, and there could be no fraudulent companies in Germany.

But this is not the case, German companies have been breaking the laws for a long time, if we recall the recent stories with VW and Deutsche Bank.