After the collapse of Wirecard, ex-CEO Jan Marsalek made a spectacular escape. Since then, there has been speculation about whether he is still alive. Now, he has stated his lawyer. In it, he comments on the course of the trial – and incriminates an ex-colleague.
The Wirecard case has been on trial at Munich Regional Court I for several months. The public prosecutor’s office accuses the former CEO Markus Braun and two other executives of, among other things, gang-related fraud.
However, one person is missing: the alleged main perpetrator, Jan Marsalek. Marsalek has been on the run since it was revealed that Wirecard‘s trust accounts, which were supposed to have held two billion euros, did not exist, and the company subsequently collapsed. He has now written to the Munich Regional Court through his defence attorney and commented on the proceedings. This was confirmed by the spokespersons for both the public prosecutor’s office and the Munich I Regional Court. However, they did not want to comment on the letter’s content.
Marsalek‘s lawyer, Frank Eckstein, stated in response to an inquiry from WirtschaftsWoche: “The letter mentioned in your inquiry originates from me and was sent on behalf of my client to the Munich Regional Court I regarding the currently ongoing proceedings.” He did not comment on further details.
According to information from WirtschaftsWoche, Marsalek did not specifically address the accusations against him in the document. However, he did comment on the company’s third-party business and is said to have indicated that this very much existed contrary to what the public prosecutor’s office claims.
As a reminder: Wirecard was a payment processor worth billions of euros that ensured that the money from the customer’s account arrived at the merchant when purchases were made in an online store, for example, and that it flowed back again in case of doubt. Wirecard received a fee for this. In addition to these official transactions, there were also unofficial transactions at Wirecard that only a few insiders knew about for a long time: the so-called “third-party business”. Most recently, it accounted for 50% of consolidated sales and 100% of profits.
This third-party business is said to have worked as follows: If a dubious merchant approached Wirecard, for example, an online store that sold ineffective hair restorer products, Wirecard employees were eager to accept it. After all, such a customer pays high fees. But they didn’t want such a store as a Wirecard customer in their database. So, they forwarded such merchants to third-party partners. They then ensured that the problem merchant could process payments.
In return for the referral, Wirecard was supposed to receive a monthly commission, depending on the revenue the third-party partner generated with the customer. However, the revenues generated this way did not flow into Wirecard‘s regular business accounts but allegedly went into escrow accounts. At last count, two billion euros were said to have been held there. However, when Wirecard’s auditors from EY asked the banks whether this money existed, it turned out that the accounts were empty. Shortly after that, Wirecard was bankrupt.