Those who profit from the misery of others are not often popular.
Short-sellers, who try to make money by selling borrowed shares and buying them back later at a lower price, have long been viewed with suspicion.
They are blamed for exacerbating price falls so that they can reap bigger returns. In times of market stress authorities often ban them.
In 1610 regulators in Amsterdam forbade short-selling, blaming it for a fall in the value of the Dutch East India Company.
Two centuries later Napoleon prohibited it as an act of treason.
On February 18th BaFin, Germany's financial regulator, banned investors from taking new net short positions in Wirecard,
a German digital-payments firm, after its share price fell by over 40% in under three weeks.
The crash marked a swift change in its fortunes.
In 2018 Wirecard displaced Commerzbank, a 149-year-old lender, in the DAX 30, an index of Germany's biggest firms.
Wirecard was worth 20.7bn euro ($23.6bn) on January 29th, just before the Financial Times reported that Edo Kurniawan,
a senior executive in the company's Singapore office, was suspected of using fraudulent accounting techniques to inflate reported revenues.
The share price slid. On February 1st it fell further when the same newspaper reported
that Rajah & Tann, a law firm commissioned by Wirecard to investigate the allegations,
受Wirecard委托调查这些指控的法律公司Rajah & Tann
had presented preliminary evidence to senior management in May 2018 suggesting the offences were a part of a pattern of book-padding.
On February 8th, as Wirecard's Singapore office was visited by the police, its market value fell to 11.7bn euro.
The firm refutes the reports, claiming that the Financial Times has acted unethically.
Its management says an internal investigation is ongoing, and that a second,
external investigation by Rajah & Tann is still under way and has produced "no conclusive evidence of criminal misconduct".
Rajah & Tann的第二次外部调查仍在进行当中并且“没有证据表明存在犯罪行为”。
The firm says it is working closely with the police in Singapore. It says it plans to take legal action against the Financial Times.