Wirecard Echoes in Austrian Bank Fraud Raise Awkward Questions

Austria has experienced plenty of scandalous bank failures in the past decade, not least at Hypo Alpe Adria, the house lender of the late Freedom Party leader Joerg Haider, Bloomberg News reported. Yet the fraud that brought down tiny Commerzialbank Mattersburg im Burgenland AG raises questions for financial regulators and auditors that have uncomfortable echoes of the Wirecard AG debacle in neighboring Germany. The lender in Mattersburg, a town of 7,466 an hour south of Vienna, was shut down last month after its boss Martin Pucher confessed wrongdoing to central bankers probing his institution’s accounts. Pucher admitted faking most of the bank’s roughly 800 million euros ($947 million) in assets in a deceit that started small but swelled over almost three decades and wasn’t detected by internal or external checks. Read more