The EU is investigating Germany's financial regulator over the collapse of payments company Wirecard in a rare move that heaps embarrassment on Berlin days before it is due to take over the EU's rotating presidency.

Wirecard's implosion on Thursday, owing creditors almost $4bn (about R69bn), is shaping up to be one of Germany's biggest corporate scandals, and regulator BaFin has come under fire for not spotting problems sooner.

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