MANILA (AFP) – Philippine immigration officers falsified records to show ex-Wirecard executive Jan Marsalek briefly visited the country after he was sacked from the collapsed German payments processor, its Justice Minister said yesterday.
German and Philippine authorities want to question the former chief operating officer as part of their separate investigations into the Wirecard accounting scandal, but his whereabouts are unclear.
Entries in the Bureau of Immigration database show Marsalek arrived in the Philippines on June 23 – the day after he was fired – and left for China on June 24.
But CCTV footage, airline manifests and other records prove Marsalek was not in the country on those dates, minister Menardo Guevarra said in a statement.
“The investigation has now turned to the persons who made the false entries in the database, their motives, and their cohorts,” Guevarra said.
The immigration employees have been stood down and face punishment. Investigators were also looking into “possible criminal responsibility” for the fake entries, he said.
Guevarra told reporters last month that immigration records showing Marsalek’s transit through the Philippine city of Cebu could be part of “diversionary tactics to mislead Marsalek’s pursuers”. Marsalek was responsible for the Asia business that became the focus of accounting irregularities – including a missing EUR1.9 billion (USD2.1 billion) supposedly banked in the Philippines – that ultimately brought Wirecard down.
Wirecard has filed for insolvency and admitted that the EUR1.9 billion likely did not exist. Marsalek failed to turn himself in to Munich investigators despite a reported earlier promise to do so.
Wirecard’s former chief executive and founder Markus Braun was bailed for EUR5 million last week after reporting to prosecutors over charges of falsifying accounts.
The assets supposedly held in trust accounts at two Philippine banks were to cover risks in trading carried out by third parties on Wirecard’s behalf.
But the Philippines’ central bank said the cash never entered the country’s financial system and both banks, BDO and BPI, have denied having a relationship with Wirecard.
As part of the Philippine probe, Guevarra said Manila-based lawyer Mark Tolentino, the trustee of the Wirecard deposits, gave a statement to investigators on Monday.
“Tolentino said he was hired by his principal early this year to provide consultancy services,” Guevarra said.