Wirecard’s lawsuit against EY seeks 1.5 billion euros in damages, according to Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of Wirecard AG, an independent provider of outsourcing and white label solutions for electronic payment transactions, is seen in Aschheim near Munich, Germany September 22, 2020. REUTERS/Michael Dalder//File Photo

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

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

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

EY declined to comment, as did last week’s lawsuit.

The accountancy firm has previously rejected claims for damages in relation to Wirecard.

Wirecard filed for insolvency in June 2020 owing creditors nearly $4 billion after revealing a €1.9 billion hole in its accounts that EY said was the result of a sophisticated global fraud.

The firm’s downfall has rocked Germany’s business establishment and brought it under scrutiny from politicians who backed it, along with regulators who took years to investigate allegations against the payments company that circulated before its collapse.

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

Handelsblatt reported for the first time on Friday the amount of damages sought in the Stuttgart case.

($1 = 0.9051 euros)