January 29, 2021

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Felix Hufeld will leave the helm of Germany’s financial watchdog BaFin after coming under pressure for failing to spot wrongdoing ahead of the collapse of the payments company Wirecard.

“The Wirecard scandal has revealed that Germany’s financial supervision needs a reorganization,” the finance ministry said in a statement.

The acknowledgement of problems was a fresh indictment of Germany’s supervision of a company that began by processing payments for gambling and pornography before becoming a star of “fintech” – financial technology – and finally Germany’s biggest fraud case.

The finance ministry said the decision to replace Hufeld was mutual and came ahead of the results of a ministry examination of a restructuring of the agency to be presented next week.

Calls for Hufeld’s resignation came to a boil on Thursday after BaFin reported one of its employees to state prosecutors on suspicion of insider trading linked to Wirecard, shortly before the firm folded.

Hufeld said in the ministry statement that BaFin had grown in significance and relevance during his six years as president. “Now there are other tasks to tackle,” he said, wishing his successor the best.

BaFin declined to comment further.

(Reporting by Tom Sims and Patricia Uhlig; Editing by Kirsti Knolle and Frances Kerry)

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