Bellingcat: Wirecard top manager is hiding in Belarus

By Kluma | InterestingCrypto | 19 Jul 2020

Former Chief Operating Officer of Wirecard and one of the world's most wanted criminals, Jan Marsalek is currently in Belarus, according to a Bellingcat investigation .

About a month ago, EY's auditors identified a € 1.9 billion hole in the balance sheet of the German company he controls. Soon after, the company's top management, including Marsalek, was fired. The company's share price in seven days fell from 100 to 1.08 euros.

Subsequently, it turned out that the Wirecard management was carrying out fraud with accounts in order to increase the company's capitalization and make it more attractive to investors.

Some time later, the Munich police detained Wirecard CEO Markus Braun. He is suspected of falsifying data on the balance of funds in the company's accounts. On June 23, the judge will choose a preventive measure against Brown.

Kremlin trail

40-year-old Austrian Jan Marsalek has worked at Wirecard since 2010, responsible for the company's activities in Asia. According to the newspaper, amid the scandal and Brown's arrest, the top manager said that he was going to the Philippines in order to find the missing billions and prove his innocence.

Since then, the authorities of Germany, Austria and the intelligence services of other countries have been looking for him, not only because of financial fraud, but also on suspicion of links with Russian intelligence.

Since 2015, Marsalek has been involved in various projects in Libya, allegedly with the aim of "humanitarian reconstruction of the country." In fact, he interacted with Russian advisers and European officials as part of a plan to set up private military companies to protect commercial interests in the civil war country.

According to Bellingcat, Marsalek's adviser on the Libyan initiative was Russian Andrei Chuprygin, an expert on the Arab world. According to Western intelligence services, he is a senior GRU officer with close ties to the intelligence community.

According to Spiegel , Marsalek also maintained close ties with the Kremlin-loyal far-right Austrian Freedom Party. He gave her secret information.

According to Bellingcat, Marsalek has been a frequent visitor to Russia, having made over 60 trips to the country in the past 10 years.

His first trip took place in 2004, for six years he did not visit Russia at all, and since 2010, when he joined the Wirecard board, he began flying regularly. Marsalek's trips intensified in 2014: he flew to Moscow 10 times, while usually staying only for a day.

Hospitable Belarus

Soon after the removal from office of the Wirecard board member, Marsalek was finally fired and was wanted .

After disappearing, in conversations with friends and former colleagues, he mentioned that he was in the East Asia time zone. Marsalek was once asked if he was in a "politically stable environment." He laughed and said:

"Don't worry, the same people have been in power here for the past 25 years."

In the border crossing database, the former top manager is listed as having entered Belarus on a private plane on the night of June 19, 2020. According to border data, after that he did not leave the country.

According to Bellingcat, Marsalek first arrived in Tallinn from the Austrian city of Klagenfurt in an Embraer 650 Legacy private jet. At the same time, a regular commercial Lufthansa flight LH882 from Frankfurt landed in Tallinn. Less than 15 minutes after the LH882 landed, the Embraer business jet took off for Minsk.



Left: Embraer flight from Klagenfurt to Tallinn; right: flight Tallinn - Minsk.

Founded in 1999, Wirecard was the most famous German tech startup. In 2018, the company was among the 30 largest German companies tracked by the DAX index.

A number of well-known companies in the crypto industry have collaborated with Wirecard, including Crypto . com , TenX and CryptoPay.

At the end of June Wirecard began bankruptcy proceedings .

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