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Finance

Singapore orders Wirecard unit to halt services and return money

Bankrupt German fintech's local arm faces Oct. 14 refund deadline

Once considered a fintech wunderkind, Wirecard is now under investigation for fraud.   © Reuters

SINGAPORE -- The Singaporean central bank has ordered the local arm of German payment services group Wirecard to shut down operations and to return all customer funds by Oct. 14.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore made the announcement Wednesday.

Wirecard has been embroiled in a multibillion-dollar accounting scandal, leading to its collapse into insolvency in June.  In Singapore, the company has offered payment processing services for merchants as well as help issuing pre-paid cards.

"Wirecard SG has informed MAS that it is unable to continue providing payment processing services to a significant number of merchants," the central bank said in its statement. "MAS has assessed that it is in the interest of the public for Wirecard SG to cease its payments services and promptly return all customers' funds."

The central bank has monitored the scandal's potential impact on customer assets. Customers have been encouraged to switch to other service providers.

Hailed as one of Europe's leading fintech companies before its fall, Wirecard collapsed after money purportedly held in the Philippines could not be accounted for, with banks saying the funds did not exist.

Both German and U.S. authorities are reported to be investigating the scandal.

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