Security & Fraud

Germany Asks For Interpol Help To Find Ex-Wirecard COO

Germany is seeking help from Russia to help locate missing Wirecard executive Jan Marsalek, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

Russian authorities had no comment, according to WSJ, and neither did representatives from Wirecard or a lawyer for Marsalek.

Marsalek was in charge of running operations for the FinTech company, which was once a darling of the tech scene but has now been disgraced by an international money-laundering scandal unfolding since last month. According to sources familiar with the company, Marsalek was in charge of the company’s relations with third-party firms that processed payments in areas where the company wasn’t licensed.

Those revenues made up a large part of the company’s massive revenues, and are a focus of the investigation, WSJ wrote, based on documents reviewed. Marsalek has eluded authorities since the controversy started, with no one being able to account for his whereabouts since around June 18 when the company suspended him.

Germany is asking Russia to act on an Interpol notice for Marsalek’s arrest, WSJ wrote. The request was made on July 22 along with a “red notice” through Interpol, and both were revealed in written answers to reporters on Wednesday (July 29), according to Interpol. A “red notice” from Interpol means a worldwide request for governments anywhere to locate and arrest a suspect.

Wirecard’s clout began to fall in June when the company was found to have possibly cooked its books, with $2 million missing from the books that the company said was in banks in the Philippines. But an investigation ended up not finding any such funds.

And since then, the scandal has repeatedly widened to include more regulators and officials worldwide who apparently looked the other way while the company allegedly committed various forms of fraud. In one instance last week, three former executives were arrested for reportedly conspiring to inflate the company’s revenue through creating fake businesses with third party companies.

The alleged scheme was intended to portray financial solvency and strength on Wirecard’s part, allowing it to borrow $3.7 billion.

In many respects, it was becoming clear that the company was losing money, those close to the matter have said. One executive, not named in news reports, has confessed to crimes related to fraud, according to PYMNTS.

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