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External review finds no evidence FT reporters colluded to short sell fintech firm

An independent review has exonerated Financial Times journalists of claims they colluded with investors over reports on alleged irregularities at a German fintech company, the newspaper said today.

London-based law firm RPC was appointed by the FT in July to look into repeated allegations from Wirecard that reporters on the paper’s investigative team had colluded with short-sellers targeting the company.

The FT said today that after an “extensive” review, RPC had found “the evidence does not support any claims of collusion”.

FT editor Lionel Barber said: “I am satisfied that there is no foundation to support the allegations levelled against our reporters by Wirecard. We stand by our journalism.”

Barber decided to order the external review given the “seriousness of the allegations” and the fact that the FT’s reputation rests on its “integrity and scrupulous approach to accuracy,” he said in July.

Previously the FT said Wirecard’s claims of unethical reporting were “a smokescreen obscuring the serious allegations” that had been uncovered regarding alleged fraudulent accounting at the firm’s Singapore base.

Wirecard has denied all the allegations against it.

The FT’s investigations team has been looking at the fintech firm for the past four years and has this year published a series putting a spotlight on allegations of “fraud, forgery and opaque business links”.

Wirecard said in March it was filing a legal claim in Munich against the FT for “disclosure and false representation of confidential information”, but the newspaper said two months later it had still not received any such claim.

German financial regulator Bafin has filed a criminal complaint against two unnamed FT journalists to prosecutors in Munich, accusing them of market manipulation based on their reporting.

None of the organisations responded to requests for comment today to confirm whether the various cases were still being pursued.

Picture: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton 

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