A former officer with the Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration (BI) has been handed a nine-year prison sentence for falsifying travel records for Wirecard fugitive and suspected Russian spy Jan Marsalek.
Wirecard fugitive and suspected Russian spymaster Jan Marsalek is one of the world’s most wanted men. A Philippine immigrations officer has been convicted of creating the diversionary tactic that allowed him to flee to Russia. (Image: Bild)
Marcos S. Nicodemus cooked the books to make it appear that Wirecard COO Marsalek had entered the country on June 23, 2020. This created a smokescreen that helped the Austrian national flee to Russia in the wake of Wirecard’s collapse.
Marsalek is wanted by the German government for his involvement in the $2.2 billion Wirecard fraud. Meanwhile, British prosecutors have accused him of being a spymaster who fed orders to five Bulgarian nationals accused in the UK of spying for Russia.
Fraud Trial of the Century
Marsalek disappeared in the summer of 2020 amid accusations of fraud and false accounting at Wirecard that sparked Germany’s “Fraud Trial of the Century.”
The company that began life as a payment processor for online gambling and pornography websites became the leading light of the German fintech sector. It had a $28 billion market cap. That’s until a $2 billion hole appeared on its balance sheet.
This money was supposed to be sitting in trustee accounts at two Philippine banks, but the banks denied all knowledge of this.
Wirecard later admitted that the “missing” $2 billion probably never existed.
German prosecutors allege Wirecard executives orchestrated a “massive criminal act” to defraud investors and lenders of billions by artificially inflating the company’s value.
Marsalek is currently on trial in absentia on charges that include market manipulation and gang-related fraud.
Days after the Wirecard meltdown, the Austrian claimed he was heading to the Philippines to find the missing money and booked a flight to Manila. But instead, he slipped into Russia via Belarus.
He is believed to be currently hiding out in Moscow under the supervision of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency.
Because of Wirecard’s Philippines connection, authorities in the Southeast Asian country launched an investigation into the company and began looking for Marsalek.
They suspected that records of the Austrian’s entry via Mactan-Cebu International Airport were falsified because of the absence of an actual scanned data page of Marsalek’s passport. At the time, there were severe restrictions on visitors flying into the Philippines because of Covid protocols, which meant Marsalek would normally have been refused entry.
When they checked security video from the airport, the Philippines National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) found no evidence of Marsalek’s presence there.
Nicodemus’ nine-year sentence was the maximum available to prosecutors. He has also been disqualified from holding public office in perpetuity.
The connection between Nicodemus and Marsalek or the Russian government is unclear.
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