Wirecard AG shareholders’ claims for compensation against the now-bankrupt company are set to expire at the end of 2023. Anyone interested in joining the model case proceedings against Wirecard must register their interest by mid-September.
The whistle was blown on the Wirecard scandal back in the spring of 2020 when it became known that around 1.9 billion euros had disappeared or had only ever existed on the books. The group’s investors and shareholders, who have sustained heavy financial losses as a result, should assert claims for compensation sooner rather than later. Failure to do so by the end of the year risks the claims becoming time-barred under the three-year statute of limitations, warns commercial law firm MTR Legal Rechtsanwälte, whose areas of expertise include capital markets law.
Besides filing an individual action, aggrieved Wirecard shareholders also have the option of joining the class-action lawsuit being pursued according to Germany’s Capital Markets Model Case Act (KapMuG). They have until mid-September of this year to register to participate in the test case. Doing so suspends the statute of limitations for claims for compensation.
A class-action lawsuit enables participants to claim compensation while at the same time lowering the risk of having to pay litigations costs. The class action in this case is directed at the former CEO of Wirecard AG as well as the auditors who rubber-stamped the group’s accounts over a number of years, issuing their audit opinion even though it was clear from statements made by the public prosecutor’s office that the financial statements were being “doctored” since as far back as 2015.
Investors generally trust what the auditors have to say, which is why an audit opinion can potentially have a huge impact on the decision whether or not to invest. Among the issues to be clarified in the test case is whether the auditors properly complied with their obligations or whether they are liable to pay compensation to investors and shareholders.
The ruling in the model case proceedings will only be binding on the defendant and the lead petitioner, but it can also be subsequently applied to those investors who joined the class-action lawsuit. Interested investors have until mid-September to register for the test case, but the arrangements need to be made by a lawyer.
Alternatively, it is equally possible to pursue compensation as an individual litigant, though it is important to note here that any such claims are likely to expire as of December 31, 2023.
The team of capital markets law experts at MTR Legal can advise Wirecard investors on their options.
Contact us now.