Wirecard lawsuit against EY claims 1.5 billion euros in damages

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Accountancy firm EY is facing a new lawsuit claiming 1.5 billion euros ($1.66 billion) in damages over its role in auditing Wirecard’s books before the German payments company collapsed in 2020.

The suit was filed by Wirecard’s insolvency manager Michael Jaffe in a court in Stuttgart, a court spokesperson said on Friday.

It is one of several lawsuits EY is facing in the matter, including an investor suit filed last week claiming more than 700 million euros in damages.

EY declined to comment, as it did on last week’s suit.

The accounting firm has previously rebuffed claims against it for damages in relation to Wirecard.

Wirecard filed for insolvency in June 2020, owing creditors almost $4 billion, after disclosing a 1.9 billion-euro hole in its accounts that EY said was the result of a sophisticated global fraud.

The firm’s downfall shook the German business establishment, putting politicians who had backed it under intense scrutiny, along with regulators who took years to investigate allegations against the payments company that were circulating prior to its collapse.

Klaus Nieding, a lawyer representing shareholders in last week’s lawsuit, said that EY should have seen “relatively easily that the alleged 1.9 billion did not exist in Wirecard’s corresponding accounts,” because another auditor later “found this out very quickly”.

Handelsblatt first reported the value of damages sought in the Stuttgart case earlier on Friday.

($1 = 0.9051 euros)

(Reporting by Tom Sims and Alexander Huebner; Editing by Miranda Murray and Sharon Singleton)