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British national linked to Wirecard case given two more charges for allegedly abetting to falsify documents

British national linked to Wirecard case given two more charges for allegedly abetting to falsify documents

A criminal complaint against a former executive of collapsed German payments firm Wirecard has been lodged in the Philippines (Photo: AFP/Christof Stache).

SINGAPORE: A British national linked to a case involving collapsed German payments firm Wirecard was on Thursday (May 5) given two additional counts of allegedly abetting to falsify documents, said the Singapore Police Force (SPF). 

James Henry O'Sullivan, 47, had purportedly instigated R Shanmugaratnam - the director of local accounting firm Citadelle Corporate Services - to issue letters to Wirecard that falsely confirmed that Strategic Corporate Investments, another company, held certain sums of money under escrow in its bank account, which it did not.

In September last year, O'Sullivan had been handed five charges of abetting Shanmugaratnam in the falsification of documents. 

Strategic’s director Thilagaratnam Rajaratnam, 58, was also charged in court on Thursday.

He was alleged to have failed to use reasonable diligence in the discharge of the duties of his office, by signing letters confirming that Strategic held certain sums of money under escrow in its bank account, without ascertaining whether the contents in these letters were true, said the police. 

If found guilty of abetting the falsification of documents, O'Sullivan faces a jail term of up to 10 years, a fine, or both.

For breaching the duties of a director under Section 157(3)(b) of the Companies Act, Thilagaratnam faces a fine of up to S$5,000, or up to one year in prison. 

In a media release, the SPF said its Commercial Affairs Department and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, had been investigating Citadelle, Senjo Group and its subsidiaries for the suspected offences of falsification of documents under the Penal Code, as well as carrying on a trust business without a licence under the Trust Companies Act.

Shanmugaratnam has been charged with 14 counts of falsification of documents for allegedly issuing 14 letters from Citadelle to Wirecard, its subsidiaries and an audit firm.

The letters falsely claimed that Citadelle held large sums of money in its escrow accounts at various points in time between 2015 and 2017, when the company did not maintain such accounts or hold such balances in its accounts.

The proceedings against Shanmugaratnam are ongoing, the police said. 

In June 2020, Wirecard filed for insolvency in Germany after admitting that €1.9 billion in cash was missing from its accounts.

Several Wirecard executives, including former chief executive Markus Braun, have been arrested on fraud charges.

In September that year, MAS directed Wirecard to cease their payment services in Singapore and to return all customers' funds by Oct 14.

Source: CNA/az
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