A spokeswoman for BaFin declined to comment. A spokesperson for Schuetz declined to comment.
Schuetz, the co-founder of Austrian asset manager C-Quadrat, is already facing criticism for buying shares in Wirecard and then urging the company’s then-Chief Executive Officer, Markus Braun, to “finish” the FT over its critical coverage. Deutsche Bank Chairman Paul Achleitner told Schuetz in a phone conversation a few days ago that his wording was “unacceptable,” though Schuetz so far hasn’t signaled any intention to resign from the board, Bloomberg News has reported.
BaFin’s scrutiny of Schuetz’s trades is an informal fact-finding effort. When BaFin concludes such initial examinations, it generally decides whether to open an investigation into potential market abuse. Such probes can then result in penalties for the persons involved.
SoftBank’s planned investment, a $1 billion wager involving convertible securities, boosted shares of Wirecard by as much as 12% when it was announced in April 2019. SoftBank later that year reduced its exposure as doubts about the payments company’s finances were mounting.
Schuetz’s company oversaw Chinese conglomerate HNA’s stake in Deutsche Bank and he subsequently joined the lender’s supervisory board in 2017. He remained on the board after HNA exited its stake, with his term scheduled to end in 2023.
BaFin has been slammed for failing to unearth what it has since called “massive fraud” at Wirecard. The regulator opened itself to criticism that it sought to protect the company by temporarily banning short sales on its stock in 2019. BaFin rejects that view, saying it had to act to protect the wider market. The watchdog has promised to help rebuild trust lost after the company’s collapse and is being given more powers as part of a wider overhaul of financial oversight in Germany.