Failed State Germany: The German Authorities’ Wirecard Connection

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This article was originally published in German on 5/21/21 on 

The drama surrounding the Wirecard financial group shows what an unbearable intentional community German authorities have established together with Germany’s financial and economic elite. The highly problematic collaboration is a cocktail that threatens democracy with a hitherto unknown level of contempt. Even an investigative committee in the Bundestag cannot hide the fact that the structures formed are reminiscent of mafia-like spectra: Highly organized and structurally harmful. In the following I list an overview of those involved. 

Every year, Germany’s top corporations generate billions in revenue from criminal enterprises. If big money in general is not infrequently discredited for being criminal, one expects at least righteousness from politics and the state. The truth is different across the board. For example, almost all of the government agencies charged with overseeing Wirecard’s financial conduct are either on the take, corrupt, or involved in some other miserable way. The Federal Government, the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF), the Federal Ministry of Justice (BMJV), the Intelligence services, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), the highest federal authorities, auditors, DAX companies – they are all in the same boat, in which crows do not peck out an eye from the other, but the small ones – like the FREP – are eaten by them.

Hans Michelbach, a member of the Bundestag, says: “The fact that former ministers, state secretaries, a former police chief and an active Berlin politician allowed themselves to be taken in by Wirecard leaves me speechless.” The editor of the Berliner Zeitung, Michael Maier says in the context of Wirecard, you might expect something like this in Sicily, but not in Bavaria. Mafia-like behavior.

In a concerted action, the press is fought, shadowed, denounced, and accused when it reports on the machinations. Only thanks to the robustness of a foreign media institution, the British Financial Times (FT), is Germany becoming aware of how corrupt its top officials are. The newspaper has done a wonderful job of describing how the political and financial elite is being exposed in this country.

Let’s start in the German parliament, the Bundestag. A committee of inquiry has been in place for a few months. The opposition parties requested it, the representatives of the Grand Coalition abstained, tending to prevent it. The FT quotes committee member Danyal Bayaz, capturing the moment when Germany’s authorities sided with criminals and investigated journalists and market participants who asked critical questions.

Output of German media = missing

Of course, it would have been the job of German journalists, first and foremost the public broadcasters ARD and ZDF, to report on Wirecard’s misconduct and that of all the authorities involved in a timely manner. The fact that they remained silent for years about obvious wrongdoing is a capitulation of the German press. 

In contrast, the FT journalist in charge of Wirecard reports recently explained his journalistic persistence by saying that it was “so blatant that we were dealing with a criminal enterprise.” For six years, Dan McCrum and his newspaper conducted investigative research. The organized government and financial community could think of nothing better than to have the messenger of the news pursued by the judiciary. McCrum reports that [Wirecard] personally delivered the lawsuit to his home address. “It was as if they were saying, ‘By the way, we know where you live,'” McCrum says.

Back in 2015, he and his colleagues John Reed, Stefania Palma and Olaf Storbeck, who still reports from Frankfurt, had pointed out discrepancies in Wirecard’s balance sheet.

Germany’s politicians follow national and international media coverage very closely. Even in state parliaments, there is a service that compiles a daily press review for all employees. German authorities do not seem to care what foreign media write about a TOP German company. They prefer to rely on German media, at moments when even Kai Diekmann, former editor-in-chief of Germany’s biggest newspaper Bild, is working for Wirecard through an agency. Informational island Germany.

Input from Great Britain: The Zatarra Report

In 2016, British short-sellers summarized in Sherlock Holmes-style what all is rotten at Wirecard. Their 101-page Zatarra Report states, for example, that the current CEO of Wirecard Technologies, Michael Brinkmann, incorporated two Swiss companies together with Jürg Paul Suter. Suter, who was at the center of an ongoing investigation involving aiding and abetting in several cases of money laundering, illegal cross-border transactions, embezzlement and commercial fraud.

Although the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) read the report, it let the criticism of Wirecard fizzle. One of the short-sellers, Fraser Perring, was indicted himself, and it was not until four years later that the charges were dropped. Too often in Germany, messengers are decapitated, and generals are spared.

Since 2003, Wirecard has been making money with e-payment functions for Internet-based gambling and porn sites. Hardly surprising in brothel-land Germany, where mass brothels like the Pascha in Cologne flourish and prosper due to benevolent legislation, made possible by the ‘Christian’ parties CDU and CSU and their compliant partner SPD. The expert Kilian Kleinschmidt called Wirecard a financing darknet for [red. Libyan] militias and services. Such companies you find in Germany’s TOP 30 stock corporations, the BKA works with such companies, banks like Commerzbank or Deutsche Bank do business with such companies.

Input from Germany’s criminal banks Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank

After media outlets reported on their research in 2019, the equity analyst at the criminal bank Commerzbank, Heike Pauls, wrote to Commerzbank’s clients, “Yesterday, serial offender Dan McCrum, a journalist at the otherwise renowned FT, published another negative article about Wirecard.” She continued, “We are actually more concerned about [the FT’s] apparent active involvement in market manipulation than we are about the allegations against the company. We believe that regulators need to seriously investigate this.” This is how Commerzbank makes money. Journalists are portrayed as serial offenders. As big money wishes, so the little dog prosecutor jumps over a stick, and investigates the media, no, a journalist.

And so on and so forth. Alexander Schütz, a member of the supervisory board of Deutsche Bank, Germany’s most criminal bank in terms of fines, wrote to the now imprisoned Wirecard CEO Markus Braun: “habe übrigens 3x wirecard aktien gekauft letzte woche, macht diese zeitung fertig!!“ which can be translated as “by the way, I bought 3x wirecard shares last week, shellac this newspaper!!”, followed by a smiley. Handelsblatt quoted Alexander Schütz’s debunking figure of speech, and other newspapers also reported what Schütz suggested Braun do to the Financial Times.

As a major shareholder of Deutsche Bank, the investment company Deka saw a “reputational risk” in Schütz. Schütz left the bank, and has been pursuing journalists ever since. As if there was no public interest in what was reported, a member of Deutsche Bank’s Supervisory Board took action against publishing media, such as the Handelsblatt, the Financial Times or the Internet portal Zackzack. Colombian conditions in which journalists are not attacked at demonstrations, but discreetly and costly by representatives of the white collar industry. This is the way to silence media, and to make them stop reporting in the first place.

Commerzbank, public prosecutor’s office, Germany’s systemic terror. McCrum is stunned. The Fraud Magazine reports on his fear that the German state, in concert with Germany’s financial elite, is causing him: “I didn’t think I could ever travel to Germany, or I’d be arrested.” The magazine goes on to write, “Twitter spam accounts claimed he wrote the articles incriminating Wirecard because his wife worked for a competitor. Wirecard seemed determined to destroy his and his wife’s reputation.”

From British input to the BaFin bang in Bonn

That the reputation of Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) is kaputt is just one of the lessons of the Wirecard drama. When the successor to BaFin boss Felix Hufeld had been chosen, the FT railed that Germany’s financial regulator looks more like an aged Pomeranian than a dynamic Rottweiler. An allusion to the purpose of a dwarf spitz dog, which is considered a toy dog in England, which comes from Pomerania or Germany and was also the favorite pet of the German-English Queen Victoria. Victoria was 50 percent German.

Felix Hufeld had to leave BaFin when the news was in the world that a not small number of employees enriched themselves in Wirecard shares and that at least one employee silvered his insider knowledge, while the authority brought its supervisory function against Wirecard down to zero. That BaFin had Fraser Perring indicted and prosecuted, even though his tips were useful. And above all, that the accusation of accounting fraud was known, but only a short-selling ban was imposed. The magazine Finance writes that Berlin lawyers Wolfgang Schirp and Marc Liebscher are preparing a class action lawsuit against BaFin and the DPR for state liability on behalf of Wirecard investors.

Right at a moment when those responsible for Germany’s financial supervision are facing accusations of obstruction of justice (Section 258 of the German Criminal Code) and other official offenses, when the Commission of the European Union is mandating securities regulator ESMA to review the role of German financial supervision, when the FT is reproaching the toy character of German authorities, Hufeld is propagandizing that his ex-authority is among the best supervisory authorities in the world. Global laughter and a bang. Hufeld’s departure will be remembered as the Bonn bang, as the concentrated blocking energy that had accumulated under Hufeld discharged in the BaFin halls.

Federal Criminal Police Office infiltrates Wirecard

It takes just under 90 minutes to get from Bonn to Wiesbaden. This is where the next criminal authority is located. Describing this authority is easy, because it carries the name Kriminalamt as its official title. The Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt or BKA) cooperates with BaFin, especially when it comes to BKA responsibilities such as money laundering. One would expect the BKA to have been informed by BaFin three years ago, after the Bonners were informed by New York financial player Fahmi Quadir that Wirecard was a giant money laundering machine. BaFin reportedly did not follow up on the tip. However, since Hufeld’s parade authority had detailed information at its disposal, it is almost certain that its employees also informed the BKA. 

If the BKA had the information, the question arises as to why this authority did not react either. One possible answer can be found in the credit cards issued by Wirecard. The BKA allowed itself to be bribed by Wirecard. Undercover investigators from the BKA were provided with free Wirecard credit cards. It is hard to imagine BKA employees checked this entrusted Dax company for money laundering afterwards. Instead of investigating money laundering suspicions, the power elite preferred to trust Germany’s new figurehead, and instead indicted journalists and the bearer of the bad news.

The special investigator for the Bundestag’s investigative committee, Wolfgang Wieland, puts the rate of all credit cards used for criminal cases at one-third. Wirecard was thus able to view the sales of undercover investigators. Germany’s first TV news channel Tagesschau reported a delighted Wirecard board member: “then at least I can see what goes through the account.”

According to media reports, the BKA selected Wirecard Bank to use credit cards to monitor suspects. In 2014, a BKA official reportedly contacted Wirecard with the following request: “We would like to give a target person an original sealed mywirecard VISA as a “gift” so that he or she uses the card diligently. […]” As soon as the card set for surveillance would be used, a corresponding data record with the information would have been immediately sent to the law enforcement agency. Since the target person was very suspicious, this card had to be handed over to him in its original packaging.

The BKA had been cooperating with the company it was supposed to monitor since 2013. The fact that the BKA did not comment on FT’s inquiry, although it is obliged to do so under the Press Act, speaks volumes. This office is not clean either.

Barely in, already out – the FREP

Meanwhile, the German Financial Reporting Enforcement Panel (FREP) is defending itself against not being clean. In Germany, the FREP is called DPR, which stands for Deutsche Prüfstelle für Rechnungslegung. Its head, Edgar Ernst, is scolding politicians. BaFin, he says, “lowballed” the accounting fraud allegations, and then gave his office, with just 15 employees, the big job of conducting complex forensic audits. This assignment did not take place until 2019, although numerous indications had long been available by then.

A recap. Wirecard was founded in 1999, in 2003 the company earned money from gambling and porn. In 2008 there were indications of irregularities. In 2016, the Zatarra Report circulated. In 2017, the Manager Magazine reported on non-transparent accounting. In 2019, the FT follows up. BMF, BaFin and BMJV are well aware of Wirecard and its suspected balance sheet falsifications, both know the ‘personnel strength’ of the FREP. According to a report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAZ), the FREP was able to assign one of 15 employees to the examination. An audit that was supposed to take 16 months.

Ernst tells the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) that no one has spoken to the FREP. It seems BMF and BMJV are taking the DPR as a trump card to throw the media and public a morsel to keep them quiet. When the BMJV terminated the DPR’s contract, Ernst saw himself as a “pawn.” The FT reports that Ernst said the FREP’s budget was deliberately kept small to limit the financial burden on the German companies that fund the body. This is how you design a corset of systematic fraud.

How much input in federal ministries?

By the way, BMJV and BMF. Both federal ministries are headed by ministers of the minority government party SPD. Now the Federal Audit Office says that neither of them critically reviewed the balance sheet control procedure “at any time” although “competence problems” were known. Treasury Secretary and current SPD chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz also failed to monitor whether BaFin was using its instruments to the full. BaFin did not live up to the legislator’s claim to act as an integrated alliance supervisor. An almost reservedly diplomatic insinuation. 

Jens Zimmermann, a Bundestag member, complained about the government’s lack of willingness to cooperate. Now it’s all about the intelligence services. The Federal Intelligence Service is based in Berlin and reports directly to chancellor Angela Merkel. Special investigator Wieland found that the BND also used credit cards from Wirecard. And more. The former state secretary in the Federal Chancellery for intelligence services, Klaus-Dieter Fritsche of the governing coalition party CSU, is a security advisor to Wirecard. He confirmed to the investigative committee that his good contacts in government and intelligence circles had been useful after all. Together with members of the Wirecard board, he was able to attend appointments at the Chancellor’s Office, whereupon Chancellor Merkel “personally” spoke up for the company during a trip to China. Well then.

Three months before German national elections, there was a rising chance of a public discussion, at which point and at what times which members of the German government were involved. Who knows, perhaps it‘ll be disclosed through whistleblowers, who are employed by the state.

A lot of input from the Federal Intelligence Service

The newspaper Junge Welt reports that Fritsche put on record that he himself trusted the work of the financial regulator BaFin and saw no reason not to get involved with Wirecard. This is also how Mafiosis argue: The top relies on the bottom, the bottom on the top, and no one looks into the nitty-gritty – except perhaps whistleblowers, but they are put out of business.

Intelligence coordinator Bernd Schmidbauer, ex-confidant of former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, tells the committee that in connection with Wirecard he prefers to keep quiet about information that could endanger Germany’s national security interests. He says he became active as part of a ring of senior experts from the intelligence world toward Wirecard chief Jan Marsalek.

Schmidbauer reports Wirecard had a particular interest in Fabio De Masi, a Bundestag member. In financial circles, de Masi has earned a reputation of being a critical observer on corruption. On the occasion of the Luxembourg Leaks, he described the connection between the European Union governments and international corporations such as Apple and Google as “complicity.” He said the German states were trying to lure companies and wealthy individuals with poor staffing levels for company audits.

Schmidbauer told the newspaper DIE WELT that he had “not spied” on De Masi. In fact, the hauteur of the German secret services excelled in supporting and increasing criminal energies. Schmidbauer admits that there are far more witnesses than him, “then whole armies with their generals would have to appear before the committee in Berlin.” The federal government submits documents, but blacks out essential passages.

According to media reports, an ex-Wirecard board member testified that Wirecard CEO Marsalek “requested and received a complete year’s worth of data on Wirecard’s business partners from her for, which was handed over to the BND. Wirecard, BND, chancellor Merkel, a Wirecard connection.

Nebulous interest of the Austrian Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism (BVT)

In contrast, the interest of the Austrian Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism (BVT) is somewhat less clear. Why does the BVT have an interest in De Masi in connection with Wirecard? According to a report in the Berliner Zeitung, available files suggest that the BVT was after De Masi. The newspaper writes: “In the original chat between ex-BVT agents Martin W. and Egisto O., W. had demanded that O. send De Masi’s CV to Schmidbauer, to which the latter is said to have replied ‘It’s already done.’ De Masi told this newspaper: ‘To this day I have received no answer to my request to the Austrian Minister of the Interior to clarify the events comprehensively. The federal government claims to have no knowledge of the events surrounding Martin W. and Egisto O. and not to make any effort to obtain such knowledge! This is a scandal in itself!’” The role of Austria is a chapter of its own, beyond the scope of this article.

Secret services support the dirty games of the elites, and they make any attempts at clarification enormously difficult. Eva Joly, the corruption hunter, writes in her book that her investigations as the investigating judge in charge of the Elf-Aquitaine-Leuna case revealed that the French company Elf paid more than 50 million Deutschmarks (around 30 million U.S. Dollars) to a middleman who maintained contacts with the BND. But although the German judiciary held all the trump cards, nothing had happened. Not until today. The largest fraud investigation in Europe since World War II, according to the British Daily Guardian, involved 200 million British pounds for political favors, mistresses, jewelry, artwork, villas and apartments. The German judiciary has also played its part in the state-failing Wirecard connection.

Wirecard as an intelligence outpost?

The entanglement of Wirecard, the intelligence services and explicitly the Federal Chancellery supports the hypothesis that Wirecard was to be built up into a kind of intelligence branch. At the same time, people from Seattle to Berlin never tire of demonizing the Chinese tech company Huawei because it plays an essential role in the Chinese intelligence infrastructure. The fact that, conversely, Wirecard was a building block in Germany’s intelligence infrastructure is, of course, hung low. Only when too many scandals came to light, this infrastructure part was dropped.

The role of investigators 1: The corrupt public prosecutor’s offices

It took four years for the Munich public prosecutor’s office responsible for Wirecard to drop its various charges. For 18 months, the state of Germany prosecuted British short-seller Fraser Perring. It was not until mid-2020 that the charges were dropped.

Perring’s colleague, short-seller Matthew Earl, presented concrete evidence of money laundering transactions to the Munich public prosecutor’s office in 2019. In the investigative committee, Earl said: “It was a strange meeting, the atmosphere frosty.“ The Manager magazine reports he was treated “like public enemy number one.” At some point, he says, a light dawned on the prosecutor. She said, “Good heavens, this is a Dax 30 company.” And Earl: “Exactly, and that’s your problem”, according to the newspaper. Of course, the same public prosecutor’s office could have investigated Wirecard, BaFin or the BKA long ago. But no, you know each other, you appreciate each other, you don’t peck each other’s eyes out. It could cost them their own jobs, especially since the public prosecutor’s offices are subordinate to the Ministry of Justice. 

Instead, the authority prefers to file a criminal complaint for market manipulation against whistleblowers. The FT describes how, after the publication of the Zatarra report, its reporter Dan McCrum was also monitored precisely because he reported on the report. The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on a Wirecard spokeswoman’s statement that the group “never ordered the surveillance of individuals by detectives – not even of Mr. McCrum nor of other journalists.” In corporate circles, it was said that a forensics consultancy commissioned by Wirecard had at the time shadowed individuals on a one-off basis on its own initiative and without consultation, according to the newspaper. 

To sum it up: which part of the authorities has to be held accountable, does not seem to matter any more. The sheer amount of diffuse impacts sums up to a bundle of wrongdoing. It should be noted though, how the authorities (here in cooperation with Wirecard) intimidate the press. It is true that the public prosecutor’s office also had Wirecard’s offices searched, but only in June 2020, when news of misconduct had already been circulating for 12 years.

Whether now that the die is cast, prosecutors will start doing their job may be doubted. Those involved in the prosecution are themselves facing charges of obstruction of justice. The same may apply to the Frankfurt public prosecutor’s office, which has only now, in 2021, opened an investigation against BaFin. Everyone is investigating everyone else, Germany is suffocating.

The Role of Investigators 2: Auditor Supervisory Authority APAS

The role of public prosecutors is to investigate for the state whether the state wants to bring charges against someone for breaking the law. Another federal agency checks whether auditors such as those in the TOP 4 made up of EY, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Deloitte or KPMG are performing their duties in accordance with the law. The auditor oversight body APAS is the auditor oversight body in Germany, and subordinate to Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier. According to German Press Agency dpa, Bose was made redundant without notice. This is because Ralf Bose illegally traded Wirecard shares at the very moment his agency was reviewing the auditing company EY with regard to Wirecard. Since EY is accused of not having worked in compliance with the law either, APAS is investigating EY.

Interim conclusion: Public prosecutors are investigating BaFin, APAS is investigating EY, and the investigative committee is investigating intelligence agencies and the Federal Chancellery. The Wirecard drama indeed exposes systemic state structures in which the state itself becomes the defendant. The most recent evidence is the refusal of APAS to provide Wirecard insolvency administrator Michael Jaffé with the required documents. APAS and the Federal Minister of Economics, Peter Altmaier, refuse to hand them over on the grounds that the public would otherwise find out how APAS operates. Mafia principles at work.

In this context, the question must be asked why the public prosecutors did not investigate Wirecard back in 2008 or 2016? Or why they are not investigating the new APAS boss and Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier. Strictly speaking, the Munich public prosecutor’s office should also be investigated on suspicion of obstruction of official duties.

The Role of Investigators 3: Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)

The next candidate is the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in Cologne. While the BKA was still investigating money laundering until 2017, this task now falls to the Central Office for Financial Transaction Investigations, or Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). The Federal Ministry of the Interior under Karl Ernst Thomas de Maizière (CDU) is giving the task to Wolfgang Schäuble’s (CDU) Federal Ministry of Finance. ZDF zoom reports that there is no criminal expertise here. A major reason why Germany has become a money laundering paradise even for Italy’s mafia. It is estimated that 100 billion euros of dirty money is laundered in Germany every year.

Markus Herbrand of the FDP parliamentary group and member of the Bundestag Finance Committee, along with his group, asks various questions about the FIU’s work, and realizes: “Something is not right”. Merkel’s federal government is blocking – again. With deceptions, one manages 16 years of Federal Chancellorship at a stretch. 

The German chancellor stands out not only for the promotion of prostitution on German soil, but also, and especially, for having facilitated an infrastructure to enable money laundering in Germany that is valued worldwide. Thus, the liberal opposition party FDP turns to the law enforcement agencies of some of Germany’s 16 states, because the federal government blocks. The law enforcement agencies answer that they are informed by the FIU too late and too bad to effectively stop money laundering.

Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) has arranged that FIU staff do not have proper access to data they need to investigate money laundering in the first place. The ZDF zoom report creates the impression that the FIU is a shadow agency. In July 2020, the public prosecutor’s office in the city of Osnabrück searched the FIU. The accusation here too: Obstruction of justice in office.

Interim conclusion: Public prosecutors investigate BaFin, APAS investigates EY, the investigative committee investigates intelligence services, federal ministers and the chancellor, and now the public prosecutor’s office investigates the FIU. And public prosecutors are investigating journalists who got the case rolling in the first place.

The role of the auditing firms EY and KPMG

With so much sand in the gears, the greatest criticism, apart from Wirecard of course, rests on the German government. The latter is pretending to be untouchable and announces that it will tighten the rules for auditors. Among the TOP 4, EY in particular had looked bad. APAS initiates a preliminary investigation against EY in 2019, which will be transformed into a formal professional supervision procedure in 2020, after another TOP 4 auditor, KPMG submits its audit report. KPMG confirms that an EY employee warned of fraud internally as early as 2016. The website Finance reports that the tip-off petered out. For ten years, EY more or less approved Wirecard’s financial statements. In 2007, EY prepared a special report, and even in 2017, i.e. after the Zatarra report, EY attests Wirecard a ‘clean audit’. Only in 2020, when public prosecutors had long been investigating, did EY refuse to issue an audit certificate for the previous year’s financial statements. In February 2021, EY CEO Hubert Barth was replaced.

The whistleblower who turned to the Financial Times to expose the Wirecard fraud scheme, Pav Gill from Singapore, tells the FT that EY was the external enabler for Wirecard, along with ‘deceased’ regulatory agencies in Germany. In Germany, at least, EY’s reputation is badly tarnished.

Gratitude to Dan McCrum and Pav Gill

Pav Gill did not initially think that the entire Wirecard Group was “deceased“, but only the Asian part of the company for which he was hired as a lawyer. 

It is an equivalent to the state of Germany. It‘s not about individual cases, individual offices or even employees. The state itself is infested up to the highest offices, thoroughly sick, corrupt, covering up, a true failed state – with white collar and jacket. In the end, it almost doesn’t matter whether APAS, BaFin or BMF bear the main blame within the financial pillar. Too many people involved regularly play dirty games. The same applies to the domestic policy pillar with the Ministry of Interiors and BKA at state levels. Even the preliminary judicial instances ‘public prosecutors’ have to put up with a lot of criticism.

Stunned by the reactions of the German authorities, the most surprising thing for the experienced journalist McCrum was “how willing people in Germany were to ignore the questions, even though they were confronted with evidence“. McCrum: “The authorities had clear fingerprints available, and they treated them with suspicion. In the complaint against me, they said it looked like this was part of the conspiracy to manipulate the stock price. Not a good attempt to make regulators aware of what was going on.”

The Fraud Magazine quotes McCrum as saying he is relieved that the Wirecard story has reached its apparent conclusion, but he is still frustrated that it took six years of investigative reporting to get to this point. “With every story, we [at the Financial Times] thought, this is it. This story is finally going to make people see the light. But it didn’t, because the German authorities had effectively demonized us.“ 

For the Financial Times, the story may be over; for Germany, it will be a touchstone for resilient democracy. A big cheer for Pav Gill for doing so much for Germany. 

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