financial scandals

NBI files complaint vs Wirecard execs for $2.1-billion accounting fraud

Ralf Rivas
NBI files complaint vs Wirecard execs for $2.1-billion accounting fraud

FRAUD. Wirecard acts and books about the company are pictured in Berlin, Germany, April 22, 2021.

Michele Tantussi/Reuters

The NBI files complaints against former Wirecard COO Jan Marsalek and Filipino trustee Mark Tolentino for violating several laws, including the Cybercrime Prevention Act and the New Central Bank Act

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed a complaint against executives of insolvent German company Wirecard and their alleged Filipino accomplices for a $2.1-billion fund fraud, considered as the biggest accounting scandal in European history.

The Office of the Prosecutor General on Friday, June 4, said the NBI filed the complaint last May 31, recommending charges against Wirecard chief operating officer Jan Marsalek, Filipino trustee and former transportation assistant secretary Mark Tolentino, and several others, for violating provisions of the New Central Bank Act, General Banking Act, Cybercrime Prevention Act, and Electronic Commerce Act.

They were also charged with falsifying documents in relation to the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) also stood as complainant.

Marsalek is now on Interpol’s red notice list, meaning there is a worldwide manhunt for the embattled Austrian financial executive.

The NBI earlier filed falsification complaints against two immigration officials, for making it appear that Marsalek entered the Philippines in June 2020.

Meanwhile, former Wirecard executive Christopher Bauer was confirmed to have died in the Philippines in July 2020.

What went on before

A whistleblower interviewed by the Financial Times exposed Wirecard, which allegedly faked sales transactions to inflate profits.

The faked financial statements then drove up the company’s stock prices, with its valuations reaching as high as $28 billion.

Wirecard then insisted that the missing money had been sent to BPI and BDO Unibank. Both banks, as well as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, denied this, with BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno saying that the money never entered the country’s financial system.

BPI suspended and investigated an employee allegedly involved in the scandal.

In a 2020 interview with Rappler, Tolentino said he was a victim of identity theft and he had no knowledge of Wirecard’s scheme.

Tolentino said he was asked by foreigners to be a trustee of a Singaporean financial company to aid the businessmen in setting up shop in the Philippines. –

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.