Faked travel records of Wirecard exec misled Philippine officials, info shows

MANILA: Faked immigration records in the Philippines were used to throw off authorities seeking a former executive at Wirecard AG who went missing after the German firm was implicated in an accounting scandal.

Immigration records seemed to indicate that Wirecard’s former second-in-command Jan Marsalek passed through the Philippines late last month.

But video footage, airlines manifests and other records confirm that he never entered the country, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a text message Saturday.

“The investigation has now turned to the persons who made the false entries in the database, their motives, and their cohorts,” Guevarra said. “The immigration officers who encoded these fictitious entries have been relieved and are now facing administrative sanctions.”

One of the two immigration personnel who had been relieved was stationed at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport and the other at the head office in Manila, Guevarra said separately on Sunday.

They were transferred to other units pending investigation and will be slapped with appropriate sanctions should they be found culpable, he said. A fact-finding committee is looking if other persons were involved.

Guevarra said the investigation would continue to determine whether criminal charges could be brought. The Financial Times first reported the fraudulent immigration records.

Germany issued an arrest warrant for Marsalek after he was dismissed by Wirecard on June 22 and auditors couldn’t find about €1.9 billion (US$2.1 billion) in cash at the payment processing company. The whereabouts of the former chief operating officer are still unknown.

Separately, the Philippine central bank is investigating allegations that documents were forged purporting to show Wirecard had deposit accounts at two of the country’s lenders.