Wanted Wirecard Exec Said to Be Sheltered by Secret Service in Russia

Jan Marsalek, a former board member of Wirecard who is wanted over allegations of fraud, is reportedly being sheltered in Moscow by the biggest Russian secret service.

Jul 20, 2020 at 8:10 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 9:33 a.m. UTC

A former board member of Wirecard, sought by authorities over the company's missing $2.1 billion, has reportedly surfaced in Russia.

  • According to a report in German new source Handelsblatt on Sunday, Jan Marsalek is now staying in a property in the west of Moscow under the supervision of Russia's largest secret service, the military-controlled GRU.
  • Handelsblatt cited judges, diplomats and business people as the source of the information.
  • Marsalek is also said to have sent large amounts of bitcoin to Russia from Dubai, where Wirecard had operated "dubious" services.
  • Another German news source, Der Spiegel, also reported over the weekend that Marsalek had originally flown to Belarus.
  • Tense political relations between Russia and Belarus' leader reportedly meant the GRU felt it would be better to bring the fugitive to Russia.
  • Handelsblatt suggests there may be a previous link between the Austrian Wirecard board member and the GRU, and that Marsalek had styled himself as a secret agent.
  • In mid-June, Wirecard – which supplied cards to cryptocurrency firms Crypto.com and TenX – said a quarter of its total balance sheet was absent after “spurious cash balances” were provided to its auditor, EY.
  • Days later, Crypto.com told CoinDesk it would refund customers after the U.K. told Wirecard’s card issuing subsidiary to cease operations. That ban was lifted on June 30 and the firm was able to continue card services.
  • EY has seen criticism over its failure to spot the massive hole in Wirecard's books.
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