Filipino Tagged in Wirecard Scandal Claims He’s Been Framed: 'I'm a Victim'
Lawyer Mark Tolentino, the Filipino tagged in the multinational billion-dollar Wirecard scandal, claims he has been framed.
“I am a victim of identity theft and fake news and frame up,” said Tolentino to Reuters.
Also read: Who is Mark Tolentino?
According to Tolentino, he was surprised by his sudden association to the now-bankrupt German company. Tolentino is alleged to be “Trustee 2” of the accounts suspected to hold the missing billions, as per the Financial Times report.
Wirecard, once a fintech success story, became the center of an international money laundering controversy after it reported that $2.1 billion was missing from its accounts. After its shares were toppled by the announcement, Wirecard then retracted its statements, claiming the missing billions probably “didn’t exist.”
The Philippines became embroiled in the controversy after two leading local banks, BPI and BDO, were linked to Wirecard. Both banks have since denied all business relationships with the Germany company.
Tolentino confirmed he did open six accounts, three with BDO and three with BPI, for a Singaporean firm, but claimed there were only a few hundred euros in each account.
“It seemed that all fingers were pointing to me to be the thief and manipulator of the missing money,” he said. “I want to clear my name.”
Reuters reports Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that Tolentino will be questioned by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) regarding his alleged role in the scheme.
“He’s the first to be invited to shed light on the matter,” Guevarra said.
Philippine Business Partners Under Investigation
In 2019, the FT investigative report into Wirecard’s business claimed three Philippine firms were working with Wirecard: PayEasy Solutions, Centurion Online Payment International, and ConePay International.
All three will be subject to a probe from the Anti-Money Laundering Council.
“We have included [around five] business partners of Wirecard as persons and entities of interest,” said Mel Georgie Racela, executive director of the Anti-Money Laundering Council, to the FT report. “We also need to dig further in on the directors and officers of these business partners.”
Meanwhile, Guevarra confirmed Wirecard’s former COO Jan Marsalek arrived in the Philippines on June 23, departing the following day on June 24 for China from Cebu International Airport. German prosecutors are currently seeking the arrest of Marsalek on suspicions of false accounting and market manipulation. Marselek’s former colleague, formed CEO Markus Braun, was arrested by German police. He has since been released on bail.