Two immigration officers charged for alleged falsification of ex-Wirecard exec's travel records
In this photo from the Bureau of Immigration Facebook page, an Immigration officer inspects a traveler's passport.
Bureau of Immigration FB Page
Two immigration officers charged for alleged falsification of ex-Wirecard exec's travel records
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - August 13, 2020 - 12:42pm

MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation on Thursday said it filed criminal complaints against two Bureau of Immigration officers for alleged falsification of travel records of Jan Marsalek, former executive of scandal-hit Wirecard AG.

The bureau said in a statement that it recommended the prosecution of Perry Michael Pancho, Immigration Officer in Mactan Cebu Airport and Marcus Nicodemus, IO at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 for falsification of public documents by a public official under the Revised Penal Code Article 171.

They will also face a complaint for violation of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees in relation to RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Philippines investigators in July launched a probe into the matter after Marsalek reportedly went into hiding and stayed in the Philippines.

NBI Officer-in-Charge Eric Distor said “investigation showed that Marsalek’s most recent travel records to the country include spurious ones,” an arrival on June 23 at the NAIA 1 processed by IO Darren Ilagan but bore a “mysterious ‘cancelled by user’ remark” and a departure the following day via the Mactan international airport.

The probe also showed records of Marsalek’s arrival and departure to be “spurious.” In particular, state investigators noted that entry and departure of passengers during the date is prohibited due to existing COVID-19 immigration protocols; there is no scanned data page of Marsalek’s passport and Ilagan was not on the official list of officers on duty for the day.

The bureau also said that Pancho “still encoded a departure record on Marsalek” despite a derogatory record check that should show a cancelled by user remark.

Ilagan, the IO who supposedly processed Marsalek’s arrival, submitted an affidavit and said his supervisor Nicodemus told him to conduct a derogatory record check. He also told the bureau that he immediately encoded a “cancelled by user” remark to notify the next IO to act accordingly, following their protocols.

He also said that he realized that he was made a victim of a “pabokol scheme” at the bureau where some of his colleagues “made a seemingly harmless and significant request for their personal interests and benefits.”

“The entries on the BI records for June 23 and 24, 2020, both spurious, appear to be mere diversionary in order to divert the attention of the authorities in Europe to focus its attention in the Philippines and not in their jurisdiction,” the NBI said.

It added that there are no indications that Marsalek, who arrived in the Philippines on March 3 and left on March 5, is still in the country.

The Wirecard fiasco first exploded in January 2019, when a Financial Times report revealed accounting irregularities in the German firm in an attempt to steal money. Wirecard AG reportedly lost US$2.1 billion in its purported Asian operations that ultimately brought the company down.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION WIRECARD
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