Meet the Man who Blew the Lid off Wirecard Fraud, on a Mission to Protect Other Whistleblowers

Meet the Man who Blew the Lid off Wirecard Fraud, on a Mission to Protect Other Whistleblowers
Image Source: Confide Website

The Wirecard fraud emerged as one of the biggest in history with reports shedding light on the footprints of Russian intelligence in the entire scandal. It involved money laundering on a massive scale as the firm not only embezzled money but also inflated its earnings to deceive authorities and stakeholders.

But shortly before the scam was out in the open Pav Gill joined Wirecard and soon he learned that someone in Wirecard Asia, the division of the firm Gill was in charge of, was instructing staff to trick auditors so that the company appeared to have more money than it did.

Gill chose to conduct his investigation secretly and named it Project Phoenix. The findings showed that Wirecard was falsifying its financial data, and the company's board of directors was not pleased when they found out about his inquiry. They told Gill to stop what he was doing, and his investigation hit a dead end.

Gill claims that his manager at Wirecard Asia made things extremely difficult for him after details of his probe emerged. He yelled at him in front of everyone and insulted his work, until he felt compelled to leave. But before he left in September 2018, Gill kept a large number of emails associated with the investigation on a hard drive. He believed that the emails included straightforward evidence of wrongdoing.

Gill began to suspect that even after he left, Wirecard was spying on him and his mother, although this was never established. He never intended to leak the emails he preserved, and only used them to protect himself. Being a lawyer, Gill was taught never to leak information, no matter how bad things got.

Image Source: Confide Website
Image Source: Confide Website

 

But it was Gill's mother, Sokhbir Kaur, who took action without notifying Gill, and spoke with the Financial Times, which had been investigating Wirecard for a long time. She chose to spread the information on Gill's behalf, leaving him puzzled, but he eventually agreed to provide the information to the reporters.

By June 2020, Wirecard was insolvent. Gill played an important part in uncovering the facts. Even though it cost him a great deal of trouble, he has no regrets about blowing the whistle.

Now he is attempting to make the process safer.

Gill founded Confide with Ryan Dougherty, whom he had previously hired at two startups. Confide seeks to assist firms in detecting and dealing with misbehavior more quickly, while not punishing employees who report it. They devised a software platform that allows employees to submit anonymous reports. This generates a record that both the whistleblower and the accused business may access, but it is stored on a separate system to prevent tampering.

Gill believes that if a business ignores a problem reported by a whistleblower, the whistleblower can share their report with the press or law enforcement. He thinks having a safe and anonymous record can protect whistleblowers from facing harassment like he did.

Image Source: Confide Website
Image Source: Confide Website

 

 

Gill's platform Confide will cover discrepancies in industries like healthcare and mining. Businesses will pay a yearly fee to use Confide, and more if they need help with reports. The basic version was due to launch in December 2023, following new EU rules for reporting wrongdoing. Gill wants Confide to give another option besides going to the press, which he thinks should be a last resort.

He says Confide isn't about solving all crimes but giving businesses a chance to fix mistakes and protecting those who speak up.

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