Philippines Immigration Officer Gets Nine Years for Faking Wirecard Fugitive’s Travel Records

Posted on: October 27, 2023, 04:29h. 

Last updated on: October 30, 2023, 05:49h.

A former officer with the Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration (BI) has been handed a nine-year prison sentence for falsifying travel records for Wirecard fugitive and suspected Russian spy Jan Marsalek.

Jan Marsalek, Marcos S. Nicodemus, Wirecard
Wirecard fugitive and suspected Russian spymaster Jan Marsalek is one of the world’s most wanted men. A Philippine immigration officer has been convicted of creating the diversionary tactic that allowed him to flee to Russia. (Image: Bild)

Marcos S. Nicodemus was convicted for cooking the books to make it appear that Wirecard COO Marsalek had entered the Philippines on June 23, 2020. This created a smokescreen that helped the Austrian national flee to Russia after Wirecard’s collapse.

Authorities in the Philippines launched an investigation because of Wirecard’s connection in the country. They suspected that the records of the Austrian’s entry via Mactan-Cebu International Airport were falsified because of the absence of an actual scanned data page of Marsalek’s passport.

Travelers faced severe restrictions in the country at the time because of COVID protocols. This meant Marsalek should have been refused entry. However, the Philippines National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) found no evidence of Marsalek’s presence in the country when authorities checked security video from the airport.

Marsalek is currently on trial in absentia on charges that include market manipulation and gang-related fraud.

Nicodemus’ nine-year sentence was the maximum available to prosecutors. He has also been disqualified from holding public office in perpetuity.

The connection between Nicodemus and Marsalek or the Russian government is unclear.

Missing Money 

Wirecard, the company that began life as a payment processor for online gambling and pornography websites, became the leading light of the German fintech sector. It had a $28 billion market cap until a $2 billion hole appeared on its balance sheet. This money was supposed to be sitting in trustee accounts at two Philippine banks, but the banks denied all knowledge of this.

Wirecard later admitted that the “missing” $2 billion probably never existed.

Germany’s Trial of the Century

The German government is now seeking charges for Marsalek for his involvement in the $2.2 billion Wirecard fraud. British prosecutors have also accused him of being a spymaster who fed orders to five Bulgarian nationals accused in the UK of spying for Russia.

German prosecutors allege Wirecard executives orchestrated a “massive criminal act” to defraud investors and lenders of billions by artificially inflating the company’s value.

Marsalek disappeared in the summer of 2020 amid accusations of fraud and false accounting at Wirecard that sparked Germany’s “Fraud Trial of the Century.”

Days after the Wirecard meltdown, the Austrian claimed he was heading to the Philippines to find the missing money and booked a flight to Manila. But instead, he slipped into Russia via Belarus.

He is believed to be currently hiding out in Moscow under the supervision of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency.