Philippine authorities have opened a criminal case against the Wirecard scandal, including that of former CEO Jan Marsalek, following an investigation into the collapse of a German payment group.
The Prosecutor General’s Office said in a statement on Friday that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) had charged four people, including Manila-based lawyer Mark Tolentino.
The Southeast Asian country was at the center of the wirecard takeover after the company claimed cash of € 1.9 billion at two local banks, the Bank of the Philippines (BPI) and BDO Unibank. The fraud in the group of high-flying payments revealed by Wirecard last year after the existence of cash was revealed. Wirecard filed for insolvency in June 2020.
The NBI also offered to prosecute Dela Cruz Arelano, Jud Udit Singayan Pein and other unknown individuals. This is stated in the statement of the Prosecutor General’s Office. Investigators in the Philippines have filed charges against BPI, which has also filed a complaint.
The proposed charges include forgery of commercial documents, such as breach of the General Banking Act, the Cybercrime Prevention Act, and the Electronic Commerce Act. The penalties include imprisonment for up to 12 years and fines of up to 2 million Philippine pesos ($ 42,000), according to a statement from the Attorney General’s Office.
The allegations revolve around bank documents claiming an estimated € 1.9 billion և was shown to Wirecard auditor EY.
Marsalek, considered by German prosecutors to be one of the architects of the multibillion-euro fraud, has been on the run since the collapse of Wirecard and is wanted by Interpol.
Attorney General Benedicto Malcontento told the Financial Times that the allegations allege that Marsalek met with Tolentino in Manila in March 2020 with EY և KPMG, which was commissioned by the Wirecard Supervisory Board in 2019 to to conduct a special audit in accounting.
Wirecard told EY that Tolentino was his trustee in the Philippines, overseeing cash in local bank accounts on his behalf. Tolentino denies being Wirecard trustee, having previously accused the German company of “identity theft”.
The KPMG audit app, which remains unpublished but has been seen by FT, details the 2020 Martin Tolentino’s meeting with representatives of KPMG, EY և Wirecard, during which the lawyer announced that his company had opened bank accounts with BPI և BDO Unibank on behalf of the payment group. Banks have previously said they have nothing to do with Wirecard.
Arelano is accused of providing false documents proving that Wirecard had cash in the BPI, for which he allegedly received payment from Pe և other individuals who remain anonymous at this stage. Malcontento told FT about this.
Tolentino, BPI և Marsalek’s lawyer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Malcontento office said it would conduct a “preliminary inquiry” into the complaint, and would “consolidate” and oversee future Wirecard cases.
NBI’s complaint follows indictment of two immigration officers involved last year data falsification to show that Marsalek traveled to the Philippines in June 2020.
Additional report by Olaf Storbek