German financial regulator toughens rules to prevent fraud

The German financial supervisory authority Bafin announced on Thursday the tightening of its internal rules for employees regarding private transactions with shares, bonds and other securities, in order to prevent fraud

Bafin president Mark Branson said Thursday that the rules have been changed to prevent fraud. “The purpose of the service directive for the private financial transactions of Bafin employees (…) is to avoid any appearance of misuse of confidential information.”

The regulations replace a transitional agreement dating from October 2020. The new regulations are among the strictest in the world, Branson added. Thus, all Bafin employees are prohibited from, for example, trading in shares of companies supervised by Bafin.

Speculative financial transactions, such as short-term trading of derivatives or shares, are also prohibited. All Bafin employees must report as of September 1st of any financial transaction they carry out.

Following the bankruptcy of the German payment service provider Wirecard in the European summer of 2020, Bafin had already tightened its previously quite permissive rules for its employees’ financial transactions.

Wirecard, which was listed on the main German stock market index, DAX, admitted to making € 1.9 bn ($ 1.904 m) worth of fraudulent bookings and went bankrupt in 2020. Its boss, Markus Braun, was arrested and is facing charges. trial on fraud charges.

Bafin was heavily criticized for allowing fake transactions to go undetected for years. Bafin’s boss at the time, Felix Hufeld, was replaced by Branson in August 2021. After the Wirecard scandal broke, it emerged that some Bafin employees had traded in Wirecard derivatives shortly before the firm’s bankruptcy. A subsequent investigation revealed that 42 employees of the financial supervisory authority had violated the regulations on private financial transactions.

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Source: dpa

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