Wirecard CEO Markus Braun resigned with immediate effect, according to a statement released by the payments provider on Friday.

Wirecard had previously delayed announcing its annual financial statements on a number of occasions and been advised by the auditors that there was insufficient evidence to prove the existence of bank balances of over €1.9 billion in trust accounts.

James Freis will replace Braun in the interim period, having joined Wirecard’s management board just last night.

Infografik Wirecard stock prices EN

On Thursday Wirecard shares plummeted more than half their value within minutes of the firm admitting it was not possible for it to publish a delayed annual report due to worrisome audit data.

Earlier that morning, Auditors Ernst and Young (EY) had identified “spurious balance confirmations” relating to cash balances on trust accounts that should have contained €1.9 billion ($2.1 billion).

Within 30 minutes of the statement’s release, company share prices plunged 66.5% to €35.

At the time, Braun, himself a major shareholder, claimed that he may have been the victim of a massive fraud. “It is currently unclear whether fraudulent transactions to the detriment of Wirecard AG have occurred,” Braun said. “Wirecard AG will file a complaint against unknown persons,” he added.

jsi/rt (dpa, Reuters)

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