When Financial Times journalist Dan McCrum followed a tip to investigate Wirecard, a hot new European tech startup challenging Silicon Valley, everything about the business – which claimed to be an innovative digital payments processor – struck him as too good to be true. Offices were sprouting up around the world, the company was reporting runaway growth and the CEO even wore a black turtleneck in tribute to Steve Jobs. In the space of a few short years, the company had come from nowhere to overtake industry giants like Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank on the stock market.
As McCrum dug deeper, he encountered a story stranger and more dangerous than he ever imagined: a world of short sellers and whistleblowers, pornographers and private militias, hackers and spies. Before long he realised that he wasn’t the only one in pursuit. Shadowy figures were following him through the streets of London, high-flying lawyers were sending ominous letters to his boss, and he was named as the prime suspect in a criminal inquiry. The race was on to prove his suspicions and clear his name.
In June 2022 McCrum came to Intelligence Squared to discuss his new book Money Men, in which he reveals the astonishing inside story of Wirecard’s multi-billion-dollar fraud and his fight to expose the truth. Uncovering fake bank accounts, fake offices and possibly even a fake death, McCrum laid bare one of the biggest financial scandals in German history what it tells us about the broader economy.