The Financial Times has asked a law firm to review its reporting on accounting practices at German payments company Wirecard.
The newspaper said in a statement Tuesday that the independent review would be completed by London-based law firm RPC in the coming weeks.
German newspaper Handelsblatt has reported that Wirecard gave audio evidence to prosecutors alleging collusion between short sellers and Financial Times employees.
“Given the seriousness of the allegations, I have decided to invite an external review into our reporting of this highly controversial story,” Lionel Barber, the editor of the Financial Times, said in a statement.
The Financial Times has written numerous reports this year on Wirecard, a member of Germany’s benchmark DAX index. The stories have raised doubts about the company’s accounting practices and highlighted suspected fraud, sending shares lower and causing authorities in Singapore to launch an investigation.
Wirecard (WCAGY) has said that the reports contains incorrect and misleading information. The company has sued the newspaper and one of its reporters in Munich court.
The Financial Times said that the company has not challenged its reporting through “the normal channels,” and that it regards the allegations as “a diversionary tactic aimed at stifling further reporting.”
Shares in Wirecard have gained more than 10% so far this year despite the controversy. German regulators had imposed a temporary ban that prevented investors from shorting the stock between February and April.
The company said in a statement Tuesday that it welcomed the review of the newspaper’s coverage.
“We assume that this review will fairly and objectively address all legal allegations against the coverage,” the Wirecard statement said. “We hope that this review will bring normality and fairness to the Financial Times reporting.”
— Claudia Otto contributed reporting.