Two of the largest Philippine banks have been tagged in a crisis involving German payment service provider Wirecard. BDO Unibank Inc. and the Bank of the Philippine Islands said the German firm is not among their clients.
AFP/File
No proof of Wirecard exec's entry into the Philippines in June — DOJ
Kristine Daguno-Bersamina (Philstar.com) - July 4, 2020 - 3:17pm

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine authorities have so far found no evidence that Jan Marsalek, the former Wirecard AG executive who ran operations for the German fintech company before he disappeared, entered the country in June.

"The BI [Bureau of Immigration] has established that Jan Marsalek, former COO of wirecard AG, did not arrive in the Philippines on June 23 based on CCTV footages, airline manifests and other records," said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra Saturday.  

"He [Marsalek] also did not depart on June 24, as there was no such flight to China as indicated in the database of the Bureau of Immigration," he added. 

State investigators are now focused on individuals who forged Marsalek's immigration documents.

Guevarra, who has supervisory powers over the National Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Immigration, said officers responsible for making fictitious entries have been sacked and are also facing administrative sanctions.

"I will direct the National Bureau of investigation to probe into this matter more deeply and determine possible criminal responsibility," the Justice chief said.

The Department of Justice launched an investigation after Marsalek went into hiding and reportedly stayed in the Philippines. 

Immigration records showed Marsalek entered Manila last March 3 but departed after two days on March 5, Guevarra said on June 24.

“However, there are some indications that he may have returned recently and may still be here,” added Guevarra. 

Apart from searching for Marsalek, authorities are also looking into reports that “small” amounts of money entered local bank accounts of a person with ties to the German payments firm.

Wirecard AG reportedly lost US$2.1 billion in its purported Asian operations that ultimately brought the company down.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno earlier denied that any of the cash entered the local financial system, based on “initial” central bank report.  

BDO Unibank Inc. and Bank of the Philippine Islands, two of the country’s largest lenders, separately denied holding funds for Wirecard, which they said is not their client in the first place.

Four years since $81 million was lost in a cyber-heist involving a local bank, the Philippines is finding itself involved in another controversy, which has swiftly evolved since fake bank documents brought the fund search of Wirecard AG’s external auditors here in Manila. — with reports from Ian Cigaral  

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