Report: Fugitive tech boss was Austrian spy agency informant

Business News

This wanted poster, provided by the German police on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, shows Jan Marsalek, the former ‘Wirecard’ chief operating officer. German investigators are appealing for the public’s help in tracking down the former chief operating officer of bankrupt payment company Wirecard who is facing allegations of fraud and other charges. Federal police issued a wanted poster for Jan Marsalek, saying the 40-year-old Austrian is suspected to have fled Germany after learning authorities were after him. (BKA via AP)

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BERLIN (AP) — German media report that a fugitive former top executive of payment company Wirecard was an informant for the Austrian spy agency BVT.

Jan Marsalek, the former chief operating officer of Wirecard, faces allegations of fraud and other charges in connection with the company’s sudden bankruptcy earlier this year.

Munich-based Wirecard filed for protection from creditors in June after executives admitted that 1.9 billion euros ($2.2 billion) listed as being held in trust accounts in the Philippines probably did not exist.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily reported Friday that German federal prosecutors have evidence Marsalek was a source for the BVT agency. The newspaper cited a German government response to Left party lawmaker Fabio De Masi.

German lawmaker Patrick Sensburg, who sits on the parliamentary intelligence oversight committee, told business daily Handelsblatt that Marsalek may have worked for several spy agencies simultaneously. He didn’t elaborate.

German federal policeissued a wanted poster for Marsalek in August. Interpol issued a so-called red noticefor him on allegations of “violations of the German duty on securities act and the securities trading act, criminal breach of trust (and) especially serious case of fraud.”

As chief operating officer, Marsalek was in charge of all operational business activities, including sales, and is suspected of having inflated the balance sheet total and sales volume of the company, police said.

Former Wirecard CEO Markus Braun has been arrested, along with the company’s former chief financial officer and former head of accounting.

Police allege that Braun and Marsalek incorporated “fictitious proceeds from payment transactions relating to deals with so-called third-party acquirers in order to present the company financially stronger and more attractive to investors and customers.”

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