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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

When investigative journalist Dan McCrum first came across Wirecard, the hot new tech company that looked poised to challenge Silicon Valley, it all looked a little too good to be true: offices were sprouting up all over the world, they were reporting runaway growth and the CEO even wore a black turtleneck in tribute to Steve Jobs (or perhaps Elizabeth Holmes). In the space of a few short years, the company had come from nowhere to overtake industry giants like Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank on the stock market.

As McCrum began to dig deeper, he encountered a story stranger and more compelling than he could have imagined: a world of short sellers and whistleblowers, pornographers and private militias, hackers and spies. Before long, he realised that he wasn't the only one in pursuit. Shadowy figures were following him through the streets of London, high-flying lawyers were sending ominous letters to his boss and he even received a criminal complaint from financial regulators. Now the race was on to prove his suspicions and clear his name.

Based on inside sources and a years-long paper trail, this is the riveting inside story of the Wirecard fraud, a multi-billion-dollar house of cards that turned Germany's biggest new tech darling into an international investigation. Uncovering fake bank accounts, fake offices, fake journalists, a fake kidnapping and possibly even a fake death, McCrum offers a searing exposé that will finally reveal the truth.

©2022 Dan McCrum (P)2022 Penguin Audio

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Incredible story, but not told well

The Wirecard fraud is extremely serious, begging as it does fundamental questions about the efficacy of auditors and regulators in the face of determined criminals. Dan McCrum's investigative abilities appear impressive but I winced a few times at the sensationalist, journalistic manner in which the story is relayed. The narrative in places is light on analysis, and a tad heavy on cliche. I'm left with the impression that financial journalists rely heavily on shady hedge funds, short sellers and miscellaneous chancers to source their material. And I'm still scratching my head as to how it can be that key insider whistle blowers are interviewed in hotel lobbies and other public places, rather than in private safe spaces. Overall I'm grateful to Mr McCrum for educating me on Wirecard, but am left wondering why he didn't opt to give us a more weighty exposition of such an important subject.

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Riveting

Still difficult to believe this type of fraud can go undetected by so many. It’s a shame markets live no longer exists on the FT…Dan and Bryce should bring it back

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Starts slow, gets good.

I almost gave up on this book (it’s a really slow start) but I stuck with it and I’m really glad I did. Definitely worth a read.

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essential read

gripping tale of corporate fraud - enabled by gullible investors, auditors, regulators and (most) media - told by the heroically tenacious journalist who uncovered it. Lays bare the multiple dysfunctions of the 21st century economy

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Somebody needs to televise this story

It’s the stuff of drama except it’s real. Very engagingly and archly read by it’s author, I was fascinated by this tale. I’d been trying to get my head around what had happened with wirecard and hadn’t really understood the depths of the scandal.
I honestly hope somebody serialises this story because it needs more attention than it’s had. Brilliant work from a writer of the world’s best newspaper.

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A poor man’s Bad Blood

A sufficient book with a great underlying source material. The narrative however is frankly just a shadow of the quality of Bad Blood. Good for the genre, but not a great.

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Good story but not forensic enough

Good book but not great. Strong British accent makes it hard to get into

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  • MB
  • 08-07-22

OK book but could've been better

Was anticipating for something as exciting as Bad Blood but was disappointed. The story itself is great but something didn't click in the book. Perhaps better definitions of key characters would've helped. It was interesting though to listen to the story by the same journalist who exposed it. That storyline was great.

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Excellent story and narration

Really good story, I remember watching it unfold on the news, I would say unbelievable but we are living in an era of great scams and Ponzi schemes.
Narration on audible was great.

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  • Zama Ndlovu
  • 07-08-22

A great book overshadowed by voice production

I found the story to be very interesting. The author has a good voice but the editing wasn’t great. You can hear the author swallowing, breathing or making small pronunciation mistakes, It’s not often, but it’s enough to feel like someone didn’t quite do their job in editing the audio,