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Odd Lots

How to Spot a Fraud When Everyone's Against You

The journalists who brought down Wirecard explain just how crazy things got.

Signage for Wirecard AG is displayed at the company's booth during the Money20/20 Asia Conference in Singapore, on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. Wirecard attracted short sellers and a media storm after a series of reports in the Financial Times on possible fraud in Asia caused its stock to drop by almost 50 percent at one point.
Signage for Wirecard AG is displayed at the company's booth during the Money20/20 Asia Conference in Singapore, on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. Wirecard attracted short sellers and a media storm after a series of reports in the Financial Times on possible fraud in Asia caused its stock to drop by almost 50 percent at one point.Photographer: Nicky Loh/Bloomberg

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'Markets can stay irrational for longer than you can stay solvent' is a classic maxim for investors, but it holds true for journalists too. In this episode, we speak with the Financial Times's Dan McCrum and Paul Murphy (Tracy's old boss) about their multi-year effort to expose fraud at Wirecard, a German payments giant that went spectacularly belly-up after billions of dollars were found to have gone missing. Dan, who's just written a book about his experience called "Money Men," explains how he first spotted problems at what was once described as "Europe's greatest fintech," and how hard it was to convince others of the truth. Rather than going after Wirecard itself, German authorities went after the journalists and short-sellers who were warning of the scheme.

How to Spot a Fraud When Everyone's A...