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DOJ confirms Wirecard exec’s death in hospital

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed on Thursday that a former executive of the insolvent German financial services firm Wirecard AG died in Parañaque City last month due to natural causes.

He said German national Christopher Reinhard Bauer, a Philippine resident married to a Filipina, died in a Parañaque hospital on July 27, citing official documents submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation.

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Guevarra confirmed that Bauer, who was in the tour operations business, was the same person being investigated by the NBI over the bankruptcy of Wirecard, which German authorities have described as one of the biggest accounting scandals in postwar Germany.

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The justice secretary confirmed Bauer’s death and subsequent cremation as German authorities made a rare public appeal for information to track down fugitive Jan Marsalek, Wirecard’s former chief operating officer, who is accused of being the culprit in the disappearance of some 1.9 billion euros ($2.2 billion) from the company’s accounts.

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Marsalek, who was also supervising Wirecard’s operations in Southeast Asia, appears to have arrived in the Philippines on March 3 and left via Qatar Airways on March 5, Guevarra earlier said, citing immigration records.

There were also records showing that Marsalek returned in June but the NBI’s International Airport Investigation Division (IAID) said the records covering the June trip were faked and were meant to divert pursuing authorities.

Palmer Mallari, chief of the NBI IAID, said two immigration officers—Perry Michael Pancho from Mactan Cebu International Airport and Marcus Nicodemus from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia)—were charged with falsifying documents, among other crimes, to show that Marsalek returned to the Philippines in June.

Immigration documents showed the name of Marsalek as one of the arrivals at Naia on June 23 but a third immigration officer, Darren Ilagan, also entered a “canceled by user,” which should have alerted officials.

“The next immigration officer should [have been] able to act accordingly, which was contrary to what immigration officer Pancho did when he still encoded a departure record on Marsalek,” the NBI statement read.

The following day, Pancho, who was not among the immigration officers officially on duty at the Cebu airport on June 24, entered a record showing that Marsalek was among those who departed on that day.

But, the NBI learned, foreigners were barred from entering the country at that time, all flights from Manila to Cebu were grounded and video footage showed unmanned immigration booths because there were also no flights.

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TAGS: Christopher Reinhard Bauer, death, DoJ, fintech, Germany, investigation, Jan Marsalek, Menardo Guevarra, NBI, Philippines, Wirecard
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