Department of Justice

MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday said it is now looking into reports that Jan Marsalek, former chief operating officer of the scandal-hit financial tech firm Wirecard, has returned to the Philippines.

“Upon consultation with the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) Governor (Benjamin Diokno), I have directed the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) to investigate certain individuals who are reportedly involved in the Wirecard case in Germany, allegedly resulting in the loss of 1.9 billion euros (USD2.1 billion),” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a press statement.

He said the NBI will coordinate with the Anti-Money Laundering Council in the initial phase of the investigation.

Citing immigration records, Guevarra said Marsalek arrived in the Philippines on March 3 and departed on March 5.

“However, there are some indications that he may have returned recently and may still be here. I have ordered the BI (Bureau of Immigration) to conduct an immediate investigation,” he added.

Wirecard saw its shares crash after its auditor said it could not trace 1.9 billion euros in cash, representing roughly a quarter of Wirecard’s balance sheet.

Markus Braun, the company’s CEO, had been arrested in Germany after being accused of inflating the company’s balance sheet.

The BSP earlier said none of the USD2.1-billion missing funds from the German firm entered the Philippines’ financial system.

Earlier reports said Wirecard’s external auditors at Ernst and Young found the missing funds were funneled into “two Asian banks”, which were later identified as BDO Unibank and the Bank of the Philippine Islands.

The two banks denied the allegation. (PNA)