Bank exec charged, but Austrian, others cleared in Wirecard fraud
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has indicted an assistant bank manager of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and absolved three others who were implicated in the scandal involving German financial technology firm Wirecard AG.
In a statement on Thursday, the DOJ said bank executive Joey Dela Cruz Arellano was charged with four counts of falsification and two counts of violation of the General Banking Act of 2010.
It said former Wirecard chief operating officer Jan Marsalek, former Transportation Assistant Secretary Mark Kristopher Tolentino, Judith Singayan Pe, and their yet unknown accomplices were absolved of any charges for “insufficiency of evidence.”
In 2020, the Munich-based Wirecard AG was hit by a fraud scandal. Its chief executive officer Markus Braun was arrested in Germany after resigning on accusations that he inflated the company’s balance sheet and manipulated the share price.
The DOJ said the Philippines was “dragged into the issue” after two of the country’s largest banks, BPI and Banco de Oro, were “implicated for allegedly holding trust accounts for Wirecard AG in the amount of 1.9 billion euros or $2.1 billion.
The two banks have denied that Wirecard was a client. Wirecard eventually admitted the supposed funds likely do not exist.
The National Bureau of Investigation had asked the DOJ to charge Marsalek, Tolentino, Pe, Arellano and their yet unknown accomplices. However, only Arellano was indicted by the DOJ.
Tolentino was identified by the NBI as the Filipino trustee of Wirecard AG in the Philippines.
The NBI also investigated whether Marsalek, who has been a fugitive since 2020, allegedly entered the Philippines on June 23, 2020, to evade authorities in Germany.
The NBI said three personnel of the Bureau of Immigration had been suspended for tampering with Marsalek’s immigration records.
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