Wirecard Executive, Jan Marsalek, Is Hiding In Russia
The request, made on July 22, and a “red notice” issued through multilateral police organization Interpol were disclosed by the German government on Wednesday and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The Russians hadn’t responded to the German request as of Tuesday.
An Interpol red notice is a request to law enforcement agencies world-wide to locate and arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or other legal action, according to the international police agency.
A Wirecard spokeswoman had no comment.
German prosecutors are investigating Wirecard officials over accounting fraud and money laundering. Three former executives have been arrested, including longtime Chief Executive Markus Braun, who has consistently denied wrongdoing. The company and its executives are under suspicion that they colluded to inflate the company’s results by booking fake income.
Mr. Marsalek has eluded the cops and was thought to be in the Philippines, but reports by investigative journalism website Bellingcat and German news magazine Der Spiegel said he may be in Belarus or Russia. He was a linchpin of Wirecard’s operations for years. He oversaw the company’s relationships with third-party firms that processed payments for Wirecard in markets where it didn’t have licenses, according to people familiar with the company. Revenue from those partnerships made a big chunk of Wirecard’s business, and have become a focus of investigators. The company said in a June 22 statement that it was unsure about the nature of its business with these parties.
Lawmakers grilled Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and economics minister Peter Altmaier at a closed-door meeting of the parliament’s finance committee Wednesday. Last week, Mr. Scholz presented a reform plan to strengthen financial oversight of companies in Germany after markets watchdog BaFin came under fire for failing to act on tips and suspicions raised about Wirecard for over a decade. The plan would give BaFin greater investigative powers.