Runaway Wirecard executive takes to the ground in Belarus, report says
Former Wirecard secret chief operating officer Jan Marsalek (pictured, far right) has visited Belarus or Russia.
Marsalek is a central figure in the collapse of the German fintech payments firm, which filed for bankruptcy last month with debts of € 4 billion, after the discovery of an accounting black hole of € 1.9 billion. euros which, according to the EY auditor, was the result of sophisticated global fraud.
However, Marsalek disappeared following the implosion of Wirecard. There has been speculation that he was in the Philippines.
An international arrest warrant has been issued against him. German prosecutors see him as one of the main suspects in a massive fraud that for years swelled the payment firm’s balance sheet and profits and helped propel it into the prestigious Dax 30 index two years ago .
The double life of the executive
The 40-year-old Austrian is also said to have led a complex double life with overlapping business and political interests.
Marsalek is associated with individuals or networks linked to Russia’s military intelligence branch, the GRU – the agency blamed for the attempted assassination of ex-spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, the secret war in Ukraine and the manipulation of the 2016 presidential election in the United States.
The executive is now a person of interest for three Western intelligence agencies, according to officials from three countries reported by the Financial Times.
Marsalek traveled to Minsk after the Wirecard collapse last month and may still be in Belarus or Russia, German magazine Der Spiegel said on Saturday, citing travel information he had obtained.
Marsalek arrived at Minsk airport in the capital of Belarus at midnight 2 minutes on June 19. No departures were recorded in an immigration database, the magazine suggested that Marsalek stay in Belarus or Russia. Border controls between the two countries are limited.
Marsalek’s exact location remains a mystery.
Wirecard boss arrested
Former Munich-based Wirecard chief executive and co-founder Markus Braun was arrested by German police last month on suspicion of false accounting and market manipulation and released on € 5million bail.
Braun borrowed 35 million euros from the banking arm of the payments group in January, sparking a clash with members of the board, the Financial Times reported Thursday.
The former boss was the group’s largest shareholder, holding at the time 7% of the capital for nearly a billion euros.
The firm had fought for over 18 months against allegations of accounting fraud by whistleblowers. A forensic audit by audit firm KPMG, commissioned by Wirecard’s supervisory board, did not allay concerns when its findings were released in April.