The latest update on the whereabouts of former Australian Chief Operating Officer of Fallen German fintech company Wirecard, says that he is in a hideout in Russia, transferring large sums of Bitcoin.
According to a report by top German business Newspaper Handelsblatt, Jan Marasalek, who is currently wanted by three national agencies for embezzlement, has transferred significant amounts of Bitcoin since his escape from Germany.
Marsalek is alleged to have set up “dubious Wirecard operations” in Dubai and fled to Russia with the stolen funds from Wirecard accounts he had been manipulating as the head of operations in East Asia.
Further investigative reports have extensively documented his deep connections to Russia, his shady contact, and business relations with persons of interest in the Middle East and Libya.
Marsalek is said to be exploiting the anonymity advantage of Cryptocurrencies since his fascination with crypto technology supports his view of how to move money “without a trace”.
Auditors Brought To Attention $2 Billion in Missing Funds
The former COO fled the country shortly after the biggest scandal to touch a member of the blue-chip DAX index erupted in June, forcing Wirecard to file for insolvency when auditors reported that 2 billion Euro was missing from the payment processor’s balance sheet.
The money, according to EY auditors, was supposedly sitting in two escrow accounts in East Asia, but further investigations ascertained that the money was missing from the alleged third party trustee as well.
On June 18, Wirecard fired the whole management team and Munich issued arrest warrants for both Wirecard’s now ex-CEO Markus Braun and Jan Marsalek. The former turned himself in, while Marsalek, who had oversight of the company’s Asian operations, claimed he was going to Asia, specifically the Philippines, to follow the missing money, and has since disappeared.
The company’s share fell by 90% following the scandal with the company later stating that the money may never have existed. Marsalek is the key suspect in what EY calls a highly sophisticated global fraud that cost creditors almost $ 4 billion in losses.
Hiding Bitcoin in Russia?
An exclusive report by Russia’s top investigative reporter Christo Grovez, documents Marsalek’s repeated trips to Russia since 2004, under multiple false passports, using both commercial flights and private jets.
Russia, which is still undecided on either completely banning or regulating Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies, is one the most hostile countries to be doing large Bitcoin transfers.
The crypto hostility in Russia, together with Marsalek’s long documented history of hopping in and out of the country during his time as Wirecard’s COO have started to raise speculations as to whether the Russian Intelligence is aware of his presence in the country.