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Fugitive ‘Wirecard’ executive is reportedly hiding in Moscow under guard of Russian military intelligence

Source: Handelsblatt

Jan Marsalek, the former chairman of the German firm “Wirecard” who disappeared after 2 billion euros ($2.3 million) in company money went missing, is now hiding in Russia, according to a new report by the German newspaper Handelsblatt, which cites corporate, diplomatic, and legal sources. Days earlier, a joint investigative report by Bellingcat, The Insider, Der Spiegel, and McClatchy found that Marsalek had flown to Belarus aboard a private jet.

Handelsblatt’s sources say Marsalek was moved to Russia after political tensions between Russia and Belarus. He’s now reportedly staying at a private home in Moscow under the control of Russia’s military intelligence. Handelsblatt also says Marsalek transferred “significant sums” in Bitcoins to Russia from Dubai, where Wirecard operated.

In June 2020, auditors discovered that 2 billion euros were missing from Wirecard’s balance sheet. Police later arrested the company’s CEO and senior executives all resigned. Jan Marsalek announced to his colleagues that he would find the missing money and exonerate himself. Instead, he disappeared. An Austrian national, he is now wanted at home and in Germany as the key suspect in the Wirecard investigation. 

Marsalek is also suspected of working with Russian intelligence agencies. In the past decade, while managing Wirecard’s Asian operations, he visited Russia more than 60 times using six different Austrian passports. He also bragged about being the Russian military’s guest on a trip to Palmyra in Syria. Russia’s Federal Security Service also showed interest in him.

The joint investigative report by Bellingcat, The Insider, and others posits that Wirecard may have handled money transfers for Russian private military companies in Africa, like the “Wagner” PMC. Marsalek allegedly managed projects in Libya, where his adviser was a Russian expert on the Arab world with supposed ties to Russian military intelligence.