Markus Braun

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Markus Braun
Markus Braun.png
Born1969 (age 52–53)
Vienna, Austria
EducationTechnical University of Vienna
TitleFormer CEO and CTO, Wirecard
Criminal details
Arrested22 June 2020[1][2]

Markus Braun (born 1969) is an Austrian tech investor and digital entrepreneur. From January 2002 until his resignation and arrest in June 2020, he was the CEO and CTO at the now insolvent payment processor, Wirecard AG.[3]


Braun graduated from the Technical University of Vienna with a degree in commercial computer science,[3] and then went on to earn a PhD in social and economic sciences from the University of Vienna in 2000.[4]


Braun started his career as a consultant at Contrast Management Consulting GmbH, a position he held until November 1998. Between 1998 and 2001, he worked with KPMG Consulting AG[4] in Munich.[5]


In 2002, Braun joined the management board of Wirecard AG and became CEO and CTO of the company.[4] Wirecard was one of the world's largest digital platforms in the area of financial commerce and is headquartered in Germany.[6] It was one of Germany's Top 30 most valuable companies[7] on the German stock market (DAX)[8] and has been ranked in the “Top 100 Most Innovative Growth Companies in the World” by Forbes Magazine.[9]

In 2017, Braun was reappointed as a CEO of Wirecard.[10] He responded to his reappointment by stating: "We will drive the digitization of payment processes using internet technology on a global level, and we will make Wirecard a global leader in this sector."[11] Much of what Braun has said was questioned long before Wirecard has admitted fraud in June 2020. In 2017, for example, Braun told investors that Wirecard was using the latest artificial intelligence technology to analyze data. However according to third parties, staff were instead cobbling together spreadsheets of customer information.[12] Braun owns more than 7% of Wirecard shares.[13]

Resignation and arrest[edit]

In June 2020, Braun stepped down as CEO after more than US$2 billion was found missing from the company accounts.[14] In late 2017, Deutsche Bank loaned Braun €150 million and accepted half of his 7% share in Wirecard as collateral. The loan was not renewed after the company was accused of accounting fraud.[15] On 22 June, Braun was detained by German police "on suspicion of accounting fraud and market manipulation" after he had turned himself in. On 23 June, he was released on bail, set at 5 million Euros ($5.7 million).[16][17] On 22 July, he was arrested again.[18]

In March 2022, Munich public prosecutors charged him with fraud, breach of trust and accounting manipulation. If found guilty on all these charges, he could face up to 15 years in prison.[19] Braun maintains that he is innocent and himself a victim of fraud.[20]


Braun has more than 15 years of experience in the digital payment industry[21] and was a regular speaker at industry related events[3] as well as different national and international media.[22][23]

According to Braun, in the next decade, the entire retail payment infrastructure will be replaced by technology merging all payment streams into a single, fully digital system.[24] Braun stated, that digitalization, if done right, would generate an increase in sales for the brick and mortar business similar to the expanding online commerce.[25] He considers cash to become an exception and says, that technology can never be justified by itself and can only be successful when it delivers visible value-added for customers[25] and merchants.[26]


  1. ^ "Staatsanwaltschaft lässt Ex-Wirecard-Chef Braun festnehmen". Der Spiegel. 23 June 2020.
  2. ^ "späten Montag" means "late Monday". Jung, Marcus. "Ex-Wirecard-Chef: Was Markus Braun jetzt droht". – via
  3. ^ a b c "Markus Braun". DLD Conference. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Management: Wirecard". Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  5. ^ andrea.hodoschek. "Ein Österreicher als Fintech-Milliardär" (in German). Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Wirecard: a success story in the internet payment service providers market". 6 March 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  7. ^ "German tech companies hold their own". Handelsblatt Global Edition. 13 November 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  8. ^ "Wirecard kicks Commerzbank out of DAX | DW | 5 September 2018". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  9. ^ Kauflin, Jeff. "The World's Most Innovative Growth Companies 2017". Forbes. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  10. ^ "CFO Burkhard Ley verlässt Wirecard" (in German). Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Wirecard AG announces changes to and enlargement of management board". Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  12. ^ Storbeck, Olaf; McCrum, Dan; Palma, Stefania (23 June 2020). "Ex-Wirecard chief Markus Braun arrested". Financial Times. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  13. ^ "Wirecard-Chef: Markus Braun ist Mastermind und Großaktionär bei Wirecard". Handelsblatt (in German). Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  14. ^ "Wirecard CEO Markus Braun resigns". Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  15. ^ Storbeck, Olaf; Massoudi, Arash; Smith, Robert (25 March 2019). "Deutsche Bank revealed as behind €150m loan to Wirecard founder". Financial Times. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
  16. ^ "Former Wirecard CEO Markus Braun arrested". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  17. ^ "Wirecard-Skandal: Ex-Firmenchef Braun gegen Millionenkaution auf freiem Fuß". 23 June 2020. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  18. ^ "Ehemaliger Wirecard-Chef Braun wieder festgenommen". 22 July 2020. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  19. ^ Storbeck, Olaf (14 March 2022). "Former Wirecard chief executive charged with fraud". The Financial Times. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  20. ^ "Wirecard: the case against Markus Braun". Financial Times. 23 March 2022. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  21. ^ "Paris Fintech Forum 2019". Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  22. ^ Sabrina, Danielle (12 June 2017). "Corporate America Has Lost Control Of Your Wallet, Thanks To These Innovators". Huffington Post. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  23. ^ "Wirecard: "Unsere Bilanzen sind völlig in Ordnung"". FAZ.NET (in German). ISSN 0174-4909. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  24. ^ "Wirecard hofft auf Tod der Ladenkasse". Die Welt. 12 April 2018. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  25. ^ a b Klemm, Thomas. "Hightech aus Aschheim: Die cleveren Jungs von Wirecard". FAZ.NET (in German). ISSN 0174-4909. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  26. ^ "Wirecard wächst zehn Jahre stark". Finanz und Wirtschaft (in German). Retrieved 30 September 2018.

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