Security & Fraud

German Prosecutors Seek Public's Help To Find Ex-Wirecard Exec

Wirecard

German investigators have issued an all-points bulletin seeking the public’s help in finding former Wirecard AG executive Jan Marsalek, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The wanted poster issued by the country’s Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), the German equivalent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said the 40-year-old Austrian citizen is on the run and “strongly suspected of committing billions in commercial gang fraud” and “particularly serious case of embezzlement and other property and economic offenses.”

The German payments company, once valued at $28 billion, filed for insolvency in June after disclosing that more than $2 billion of its cash supposedly held in trustee-managed bank accounts in two Philippines banks did not exist.

Prosecutors allege Marsalek, former CEO Markus Braun and others conspired to inflate the company’s results by using false documents since 2015 which allowed Wirecard to raise €3.2 billion ($3.8 billion) in loans prosecutors believe are lost.

Braun and three others have been arrested but Marsalek has eluded authorities since the company’s collapse in June.

Marsalek’s lawyer declined to comment.

Braun has consistently denied wrongdoing.

On Wednesday (Aug. 12), the Deutsche Börse Group, the exchange operator, said it will remove Wirecard from the DAX index of leading German blue-chip stocks following a rule change.

Under new rules, Deutsche Boerse can remove firms due to insolvency. The rules were first proposed last month, and the new composition of the DAX will debut Aug. 19 and take effect after market close on Aug. 21, which will be Wirecard’s last day on the index. Wirecard had been on the index since 2018.

Last week, the Financial Times reported that prior to Wirecard’s collapse in June, company executives may have raided its offices and deposited $1 billion in partner companies while it fought allegations of accounting fraud.

Sources familiar with the investigation and a document seen by the FT detailed that the alleged theft took the form of unsecured loans. At the time, Wirecard said the loans were used to pay its partners in Dubai, Singapore and the Philippines who processed card transactions.

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