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Germany: Wirecard fugitive Marsalek breaks silence

July 18, 2023

Jan Marsalek, a former Wirecard executive who has been on the run since 2020, has released a statement to a Munich court through his lawyer. The Wirecard bankruptcy was one of the biggest economic scandals in Germany.

A wanted poster in German for Jan Marsalek
Jan Marsalek is thought to be hiding in MoscowImage: Frank Hoermann/SVEN SIMON/picture alliance

Jan Marsalek, former Wirecard executive and one of Europe's most wanted fugitives, has released a statement through his lawyer commenting on the ongoing trial into the fraud scandal that that led to the company's demise, a German court said on Tuesday.

A district court in Munich received a letter from Marsalek's lawyer, said a court spokesman, confirming a report by the German business weekly Wirtschaftswoche. The spokesman declined to comment on the content or details of the letter.

What did the report say?

According to the Wirtschaftswoche report, Marsalek did not specifically address the allegations made against him in the statement.

Marsalek, Wirecard's former chief operating officer, is accused of swindling billions of dollars from investors. Wirecard, a now defunct German digital payments processor that was very active in Asia, declared bankruptcy in 2020 after being forced to admit that nearly €2 billion (€2.25 billion) in cash that was supposed to be held in Asian accounts did not actually exist. 

However, the report said Marsalek commented on the existence of third-party revenue streams, which public prosecutors say were allegedly concocted to inflate Wirecards accounts and make the company appear profitable. 

The existence of third-party revenue streams in Asia is central to the Wirecard trial, which is currently being carried out against former CEO Markus Braun and two other former managers. Braun maintains his innocence, saying that the revenue streams existed. 

The report said that Marsalek, who was responsible for the Wirecard's Asian business, supported Braun's position in his statement that the third-party companies were real. 

Braun's legal defense team has painted Marsalek as the mastermind behind the Wirecard scandal.

Marsalek fled in the summer of 2020 when the collapse of the company became apparent and is still on the run. He is suspected to be hiding in Moscow.

dh/wmr (AFP, dpa)

The Wirecard story