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FT asks law firm to review its reporting of German fintech firm after 'collusion' allegations

The Financial Times has asked a law firm to review its reporting on fintech company Wirecard, which is suing the business newspaper after it reported on alleged irregularities in the German firm’s accounts.

London-based law firm RPC will conduct the external review of the FT’s investigative reports into Wirecard after repeated accusations from the company that FT journalists have colluded with short-sellers.

The allegations spread by Wirecard through the German media have been rejected and dubbed “a diversionary tactic” by the FT, which claimed they were “aimed at stifling further reporting on Wirecard”.

It also said the Munich-based company, which specialises in electronic payment services,  has “declined to use any of the normal channels” to complain about the FT’s reporting since January.

The German financial regulator Bafin filed a criminal complaint against two of the newspaper’s journalists earlier this year accusing them of “market manipulation” based on their reporting.

The FT has rejected the allegations as “baseless, false, and a smokescreen obscuring serious allegations”.

FT editor Lionel Barber said in a statement this morning: “Given the seriousness of the allegations, I have decided to invite an external review into our reporting of this highly controversial story.

“As a trusted news source, the FT’s reputation rests on its gold standard journalism, its integrity and a scrupulous approach to accuracy.”

A Wirecard spokesperson said it welcomed the review of the FT’s coverage, adding: “We assume that this review will fairly and objectively address all legal allegations against the coverage and we would welcome a resolution of the current situation.”

The newspaper has spent the last four years investigating Wirecard. It has reported that a Singapore law firm called in by the firm to conduct an inquiry found evidence of “accounting irregularities” in a 2018 report.

FT stories alleging “fraudulent accounting” at Wirecard’s Singapore base and the law firm’s report in January led to police investigating the company.

Wirecard has repeatedly rejected the allegations and has described FT reporting as “based on false and inaccurate information”.

The company said it was filing a suit against the FT and investigations reporter Dan McCrum at a Munich court earlier this year.

Picture: Financial Times

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