Markus Braun focuses on the brown door. Around him cameras click, cell phone cameras are pulled out. Flash in the pan. Braun wears a black turtleneck sweater, over it a black jacket and rimless glasses.
So one knows him. This outfit earned him comparisons as the Austrian version of Apple founder Steve Jobs. Two pioneers of the digital world. But that is the end of it for Braun. The gaunt Viennese walks through the door with quick steps, his gaze directed forward.
But also in the boardroom the as
Son of a teacher couple can't get rid of photographers. Only after a few minutes they have to leave the hall. Braun, however, remains, hands folded. The unpleasant part is still ahead of him.
Wirecard: Braun would have preferred to be questioned by video
For 18 years, Markus Braun was at the helm of the payment service provider Wirecard
. From a small start-up he formed a Dax group. An incredible success story. A success story that was too good to be true
. And which came to an abrupt end when Braun had to declare in June that 1.9 billion euros had disappeared.
On Thursday, Braun now had to for the first time since the scandal came to light
appear in public. The investigative committee on the Wirecard scandal had summoned the social scientist and economist with a doctorate in economics. Braun would have liked to avoid the public eye, offered a Deal
an: He will testify if questioned via video conference. The deputies refused, they wanted to question Braun personally – and the Federal Court of Justice ruled in their favor in summary proceedings.
Markus Braun: "I'm currently living in the Augsburg correctional facility"
The depth of Markus Braun's fall becomes clear from the very first formality. Braun must introduce himself. "My name is Markus Braun, I'm 51 years old, I'm currently living in the Augsburg correctional facility, and I'm an information systems specialist," says Braun, his voice soft, his Viennese dialect resonating.
Since July, the 51-year-old has been in pre-trial detention at Gablingen Prison. The Munich I public prosecutor's office accuses the former Wirecard boss of commercial gang fraud. And actually would not have wanted to let him come to Berlin at all. For with his gaze alone
he could witness intimidate
– that would be "dangerous for the investigation", the "Spiegel" quotes from an internal e-mail of the public prosecutor Hildegard Baumler-Hosl.
Braun sees no unfair behavior by authorities
That gaze fixes on the deputies one by one as the questioning progresses. The blue eyes behind rimless glasses take aim at each questioner, focused, penetrating. But first, the former Wirecard CEO reads out a short statement.
In it, Braun announces that he will cooperate with the public prosecutor's office and make a statement in a timely manner. "In the end, independent courts will decide who bears responsibility for the collapse of Wirecard," Braun reads out in a soft voice. And adds: he had not personally found that "authorities, supervisory bodies or politicians had not behaved correctly, in breach of duty or in any way unfairly".
Even the auditors, whose role is particularly controversial, and the Wirecard Supervisory Board had behaved correctly after Braun's capture, but were "apparently massively deceived
been". Only by whom? From Braun himself? From the fugitive ex-manager Jan Marsalek
After the opening statement, Braun stonewalls
That's what the members of the investigative committee are trying to find out in the next few hours. Braun, however, invokes his Right to refuse information
. Again and again. At the same time he does not make a face. He fixes the questioner, listens to the question and tells them he doesn't want to comment further.
The questioning turns into a farce. The deputies are aware that they will not gain any more useful information. So they sometimes show Braun off. "His birthday, after all, you spend with your loved ones. Who did you actually have your 50. Birthday spent?", asks Matthias Hauer, a CDU member of parliament, well aware that Jorg Kukies, the state secretary in the German finance ministry, is working with Braun on his 50. Birthday was in contact.
Hauer also asks if Braun would like to say something about Jan Marsalek – for example, about his whereabouts. Braun shows no emotion, invokes his right to refuse to testify. But it becomes still harder for the ex-Wirecard boss.
Braun is attacked hard
By any means necessary, MPs try to draw him out. This is how left-wing politician Fabio De Masi asks if Braun has a daughter. After Braun does not respond to the question, De Masi goes on to ask whether Wirecard Payments for portals with child pornography content
and whether Braun feels he has made something of his life.
Braun, otherwise mostly motionless, thumps his hands on the sheet of paper on which his statement is written. "I'm not going to comment on the facts here." When De Masi asks again in the course of the interrogation, Braun asks to leave his family out of it.
Deputies continue to pester, Braun is focused, counting how many times questions are repeated. Giving away its secrets mysterious managers
but not this afternoon.
More on the Wirecard scandal:
On the ground:
How the small community of Aschheim suffers from the Wirecard scandal
International arrest warrant
: The world is looking for Wirecard manager Jan Marsalek
For whom the Wirecard scandal becomes dangerous
Ex-Asia head of Wirecard apparently dead in the Philippines