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Wirecard's former No. 2 has disappeared after its $2 billion accounting scandal, and nobody knows where he is

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  • Wirecard’s former chief operating officer Jan Marsalek has not been in contact with Wirecard executives since June 22 and nobody seems to know where he is, the Wall Street Journal reported. 
  • He was known as the second in command for German payment processor Wirecard. 
  • Wirecard filed for insolvency almost 2 weeks ago, following a $2 billion accounting scandal. 
  • The fintech’s former CEO Markus Braun was arrested on suspicion of market fraud.
  • Marsalek reportedly entered Philippines on June 23, but immigration sources told the Journal this could have been faked by airport personnel. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Jan Marsalek, Wirecard’s former chief operating officer, has not been seen since the company terminated his employment amid its $2 billion accounting scandal, the Wall Street Journal reported last week. 

Marsalek has stopped responding to messages sent by Wirecard executives, according to people familar with the matter. 

Remaining executives believe Marsalek has absconded, the people told the Journal. One person familiar with the search said German authorities are looking for him. 

Ex-chief operating officer Jan Marsalek has not been in contact with the company since June 22 

The German payment processor’s former chief executive Markus Braun resigned on June 18. He was then arrested days later.

According to a consultant at Wirecard, Wirecard’s interim management is cooperating with authorities and digging deeper into Marsalek’s role at the company. 

The management is exploring Marsalek’s dealings with external partners, which were supposed to process payments for the fintech where it lacked necessary licenses. 

Revenue generated from three of those partners was meant to be paid into escrow accounts run by a trustee. 

Wirecard is not aware whether the money ever entered because of a $2 billion shortfall in the accounts. 

The Journal said, citing immigration authorities, records are hinting Marsalek arrived in Philippines on June 23 and left within a day.

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But Markk Perete, spokesman and secretary for the Philippine Department for Justice, casts doubt on whether this is true and has not ruled out the possibility logs were faked by immigration or airport personnel. 

Marsalek reportedly sent a message to a friend via Telegram 2 days after Wirecard’s $2 billion plug in its finances became publicly known. 

He messaged his friend he was “in a safe place.”

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While Braun was the poster child of the German fintech, Marsalek was branded as second in command and the brain child responsible for dealmaking behind the scenes. 

Wirecard filed for insolvency last almost a fortnight ago following a dramatic week which saw the resignation and arrest Braun on suspicion of market manipulation and false accounting practises. 

Wirecard’s collapse

Braun resigned after more than $2 billion of cash went missing from the company’s balance sheet. The company said two weeks ago the money likely never existed.

The firm had said its missing cash was being held in two banks in the Philippines, but later the central bank of the Philippines denied the claim.

Wirecard is still continuing its business activities despite filing for insolvency. 

The decision of whether to open insolvency proceedings is currently being reviewed and a provisional insolvency administrator is expected to be appointed soon. 

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