Media Moves

How Wirecard tried to discredit FT’s reporting

September 3, 2020

Posted by Chris Roush

Dan McCrum

Financial Times investigative reporter Dan McCrum writes about how German company Wirecard attempted to discredit his reporting about the company.

McCrum writes, “At the FT we were dumbfounded. A senior executive at a large publicly listed European company had brazenly tried to spoof our journalists into running a completely fabricated, highly price-sensitive story. This was simply outside of our experience and, while it cemented our conviction that something was up, it was also deeply intimidating. What other tactics would the company try, I wondered.

“In December I found out, when screenshots of emails between me and a corporate investigator were posted online for all to see. More worryingly, they appeared along with a collection of doctored chat-message transcripts, presented as evidence that I was synchronising the publication of Wirecard-related content with various hedge funds.

“Wirecard’s associates, helped by an Indian hacker team, had invented their own ‘whistleblower’ who published this cache of supposed evidence as a file called Zatarra Leaks. It included hacked correspondence between hedge funds, clandestine surveillance photos of investors at their homes — and my emails. This was accompanied by a rabid conspiracy about London-based traders and corrupt journalists ganging up on an innocent German technology company.

“Panicked, I replaced all my personal electronics and spent days setting elaborate passwords on every device. On the advice of Sam Jones, who covered the security services for the FT, I attached a timer to my WiFi router to turn it off at night and reduce the opportunity for attack.”

Read more here.

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