Former EY partner Andreas Loetscher is temporarily stepping down as Deutsche Bank chief accountant after Munich prosecutors last week launched a criminal investigation in potential breaches of professional obligations during Wirecard audits.
In an email to staff seen by the Financial Times, Germany’s largest lender announced Tuesday evening that Brigitte Bomm, global head of tax, would replace Mr Loetscher with immediate effect, stressing that he expected the change to take place. or “of a temporary nature”.
Deutsche Bank has confirmed the authenticity of the note and declined to comment further.
Mr. Loetscher joined Deutsche Bank in 2018 after more than two decades at EY. From 2015 to 2017, he was one of the main audit partners in charge of Wirecard’s mandate.
EY will become the auditor of Deutsche Bank in 2021.
James von Moltke, chief financial officer of Deutsche Bank, told staff on Tuesday evening that Mr. Loetscher’s temporary replacement had been taken “at the request of Andreas and by mutual agreement”, stressing that “this step is not is neither an admission of wrongdoing by Andreas nor a change in perception of the bank ”.
Wirecard, a once high-profile German payment company, collapsed this summer in one of the biggest post-war accounting frauds in Europe after revealing that 1.9 billion euros in corporate cash did not exist.
Apas suspects that EY’s partners knew they were issuing “Factually inaccurate” audits for Wirecard in 2017 and 2018. If proven, this can be punished by up to three years in prison under German law.
EY Germany has repeatedly denied allegations of wrongdoing and said this week that it “is not aware of any indication of illegal behavior”.
Mr von Moltke said that Deutsche Bank “values Andreas very much as a colleague and has full confidence in his expertise and abilities”.
Mr. Loetscher will work as a senior advisor to Ms. Bomm and will remain a member of the lender’s financial leadership team.
Mr von Moltke said the reshuffle was necessary to give Mr Loetscher “enough time to properly focus” on the investigations and inquiries into the Wirecard collapse. At the same time, Deutsche had to ensure that “the responsibilities of the chief accountant continue to be fully funded at a higher level”.