Authorities in the Philippines are probing a law office and tour operator for potential connections to Wirecard, the payments provider disgraced after a global scandal, and Jan Marsalek, its former chief operating officer who has been on the run for the past several months, according to the Financial Times (FT).
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra also said on Sunday (Nov. 8) that three immigration officials had been formally charged and suspended for 90 days last month over Marsalek’s travel records. According to FT, the records falsely showed Marsalek entering and leaving the Philippines in June.
“I confirm that our National Bureau of Investigation has been examining the financial transactions of a certain law office that appears to have provided legal services to Wirecard/Jan Marsalek, and financial records of a tour operator owned by persons with business connections with Wirecard/Marsalek,” Guevarra told the Financial Times in a text message.
Guevarra didn’t provide the names of the companies under investigation, though he said he expected it to be done before the year’s end.
After Wirecard fell into insolvency in June following the revelation that $1.9 billion was missing from its accounts, the once-touted payments company said the money was being held in two Philippines banks, which turned out not to be true. Benjamin Diokno, governor of the Philippines central bank, said the money had never entered the country. Lenders said documents showing the money was held on account with them were fraudulent, FT writes.
The country was once a principal location for Wirecard’s partner businesses in the region.
Since Wirecard’s shutdown earlier this year, Singapore-based businesses have found it difficult to get paid on common things like phone or restaurant bills. That came from the shutdown ordered by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) after Wirecard declared insolvency. MAS directed customers to make other arrangements as soon as possible, which caught some businesses by surprise, leaving them unprepared for the shift.