Philippine authorities have filed a criminal complaint against individuals over the Wirecard scandal, including former chief operating officer Jan Marsalek, following an investigation into the collapse of the German payments group.
The attorney general’s office said in a statement Friday that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) had charged four people, including Mark Tolentino, a Manila lawyer.
The Southeast Asian country was at the center of Wirecard’s implosion after the company claimed to have $1.9 billion in cash at two local banks, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and BDO Unibank. The fraud at the once-high-flying payment group was unraveled last year after Wirecard revealed the money didn’t exist. Wirecard filed for bankruptcy in June 2020.
The NBI also ordered charges against Joey Dela Cruz Arellano, Judith Singayan Pe and other unnamed individuals, the prosecutor general said in its statement. Philippine researchers recommended the charges along with BPI, which also filed the complaint.
The recommended charges include falsifying commercial documents and violating the General Banking Act, the Cybercrime Prevention Act and the Electronic Commerce Act. If found guilty, the sentences include imprisonment for up to 12 years and fines up to Philippine pesos 2 million ($42,000), according to the statement from the attorney general’s office.
The allegations revolve around bank documents that claimed the alleged €1.9 billion existed and were shown to Wirecard’s accountant EY.
Marsalek, who according to German prosecutors is one of the architects of the multi-billion dollar fraud, has been on the run since the Wirecard collapse and is wanted by Interpol.
Attorney General Benedicto Malcontento told the The Washington City Times that the complaints allege Marsalek met Tolentino in March 2020 in Manila along with EY and KPMG, which instructed Wirecard’s board of directors in 2019 to conduct a special audit of its accounting. to be carried out.
Wirecard told EY that Tolentino was its trustee in the Philippines, overseeing the cash held in local bank accounts on its behalf. Tolentino denies having been Wirecard’s trustee and has previously accused the German company of “identity theft”.
The appendix to the KPMG audit, which has not been published but has been seen by the The Washington City Times, describes a meeting at Tolentino’s office in March 2020 with representatives from KPMG, EY and Wirecard, where the lawyer reportedly said his company had bank accounts. opened at BPI and BDO Unibank on behalf of the payment group. The banks have previously said they have no relationship with Wirecard.
Arellano is accused of issuing falsified documents confirming that Wirecard is holding cash at BPI, for which he has allegedly received payment from Pe and other individuals not named at this stage, Malcontento told the The Washington City Times.
Tolentino, BPI and a lawyer for Marsalek did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Malcontento’s office said it would conduct a “preliminary investigation” into the complaint and consolidate and monitor ongoing and future cases related to Wirecard.
The NBI’s complaint follows charges against two immigration officials who were involved in data tampering last year to prevent Marsalek from traveling through the Philippines in June 2020.
Additional reporting by Olaf Storbeck