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FCA lifts restrictions for UK Wirecard customers 

Wirecard customers in the UK will now be able to access their cash after the FCA confirmed it has lifted restrictions on UK operations for the lender. 

The move comes after customers’ accounts were frozen following the ongoing accounting scandal surrounding the Munich-based group. 

Last week, Wirecard confirmed that  €1.9bn (£1.7bn) had gone missing from its accounts, blaming “possibly fraudulent” transactions for the lost funds.  

The group was forced to postpone the publication of its financial results for the fourth time this year, after EY, its auditor, refused to sign off its accounts. The lender later collapsed into insolvency last week (25 June)

In light of the scandal, UK customers were locked out of their accounts last Friday (26 June), after the FCA stated that the firm “must not dispose of any assets or funds, must not carry on any regulated activities and must set out a statement on its website that it is no longer permitted to conduct any regulated activities”.

However, the FCA has now confirmed it could lift restrictions imposed on its UK arm, following discussions with both Wirecard UK and other authorities to ensure the group was able to “meet certain conditions” required by the regulator. 

Following the lifted restrictions, the regulator confirmed that UK customers will be able to use their cards as usual “now, or very shortly”. 

In a statement, the FCA said: “Our primary objective all along has been to protect the interests and money of consumers who use Wirecard. 

“We have been working closely with Wirecard UK and other authorities over the last few days to ensure that the firm was able to meet certain conditions required to lift the restrictions we imposed on it. We are now in a position to allow Wirecard to resume operational activity.”

It added: “This means customers will now, or very shortly, be able to use their cards as usual. If any customers are still experiencing difficulties in using their card, they should contact their card provider directly and should do so using the contact details on their website.

“We know that some people may have faced difficulties over the weekend and we worked with DWP, HMT and the Home Office in order to help anyone suffering financial distress. Anyone who is still in difficulties should see our website for more details.”

The lifted restrictions closely follows the news that EY failed to request account information from a Singaporean bank reportedly used by German lender Wirecard for almost three years, according to a report by the Financial Times.

According to the FT, Wirecard claimed it had almost £1bn in cash contained within Singapore’s OCBC Bank, which the accountancy firm failed to request information from. The FT’s report also claims that, instead, EY relied on filings from Wirecard and screenshots from a third-party trustee.

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