EMEA Daily: Wirecard Ex-Boss Charged With Fraud

In today’s top Europe, Middle East and Africa news, brand aggregator Flummox raised $12.9 million (€11.8 million), while former Wirecard CEO Markus Braun has been charged with fraud, breach of trust and accounting manipulation.

Plus, German express delivery startup Gorillas finalized its purchase of the French delivery start-up Frichti, European banks with branches in Russia are separating those financial institutions from their computer networks, and mobility FinTech Moove raised $105 million in a Series A2 round.

Fire Aggregator Flummox Raises $12.9M

Swiss brand aggregator Flummox has raised $12.9 million (€11.8 million) in a round led by Fasanara Capital, the company announced Monday (March 14).

The company expects to use the new funding to invest in its portfolio, adding at least 15 new brands, and to hire specialists to strengthen its proprietary IP in sourcing, operating and scaling brands online.

Wirecard Ex-Boss Markus Braun Charged With Fraud

Former Wirecard CEO Markus Braun has been charged by Munich public prosecutors with fraud, breach of trust and accounting manipulation following a criminal investigation into the German payments firm, according to multiple reports. Prosecutors said Braun is also accused of approving financial statements he knew were incorrect from 2015 to 2018.

Charges were also issued to Oliver Bellenhaus, a former managing director of a Wirecard subsidiary based in Dubai, and Stephan von Erffa, chief accountant and deputy chief financial officer, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources.

Gorillas Finalizes M&A Deal for French Start-Up Frichti

German express delivery startup Gorillas finalized its first acquisition deal for French delivery startup Frichti for undisclosed terms, bolstering Gorillas’ presence in the food delivery space.

The combined entity has the potential to hold a 17.1% share for same-day grocery delivery in Paris. Gorillas operates in the UK, US and France.

Ukraine War Tests Crypto’s Ability to Skirt Government Controls

While the core tenet of bitcoin is that cryptocurrency is a borderless, un-censorable tool of payments that is free from the control of governments, the situation in Ukraine is testing that tenet.

On Friday, the US, EU, UK and Group of Seven, or G-7, jointly issued statements clarifying that sanctions on Russia applied specifically to crypto.

European Banks to Isolate Russian FI Computer Networks

In the latest move to protect Ukraine from Russian cyberattacks following the invasion, European banks with branches in Russia are separating those financial institutions (FIs) from their computer networks.

One of the largest banks in Germany, Commerzbank AG, is ready to suspend its Russian unit from its network, sources told Bloomberg. The Frankfurt-based FI can put branches on hold with a “kill switch,” people familiar with the matter said.

EU Crypto Regulation Still Faces Long Legislative Road Despite Vote

The European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee will vote on Monday (March 14) on the draft of the Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation, but it faces a long road ahead before it becomes law, even if the committee approves the text.

The vote will be conducted by a committee and not by the European Parliament’s (EP) plenary. This means that, if adopted, the draft text will become the official text for the European Parliament to work on, but this wouldn’t be the final text adopted by the EP.

Mobility FinTech Moove Raises $105M in Series A

Mobility FinTech Moove has raised $105 million in an oversubscribed Series A2 round, and the company now plans to take its mission of closing the vehicle financing gap in Africa to new markets.

The funding will let Moove expand into seven new markets in Asia and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The company also wants to expands its partnerships and vehicle classes “to include cars, trucks, bikes, three-wheelers and buses.”

Merchants Risk Losing Customers As New UK SCA Rules Kick Off

On Monday (March 14), new strong customer authentication (SCA) rules will apply in the UK — and merchants that didn’t implement these new rules risk customer purchases being declined.

SCA is a new set of rules that the Financial Conduct Authority adopted in 2019 to help protect consumers from fraud when they are shopping online. The deadline for retailers to fully support SCA has been delayed on a few occasions, and the final deadline is due on March 14, 2022.

Lunar Uses Digital to Dislodge Nordic Incumbents and Gain Banking Market Share

They may be small, each with a population of fewer than 6 million people, but countries in Norway, Denmark and Finland are global leaders in innovation, holding some of the most advanced banking infrastructure in the world.

Banks in the region have played a dominant role in this technological development, investing heavily over the decades in modern clearing and settlement systems, as well as various initiatives such as bank-backed mobile wallets, digital banking IDs and payments infrastructure.

NEW PYMNTS DATES: 57% OR CONSUMERS PREFER ADVANCED ID VERIFICATION AFTER TRYING IT

About:Fifty-seven percent of consumers who’ve used advanced ID verification methods such as voice recognition when contacting customer service say they’d do it again. The Consumer Authentication Experiences report, surveyed nearly 3,800 US consumers to learn how offering innovative verification experiences is helping businesses deliver superior customer service across all channels.

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