Local bank officer sacked for fake document on Wirecard deposits

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A marketing officer of BDO Unibank has been sacked in relation to the reported Wirecard forgery for $2.1 billion in missing cash.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 19) – A marketing officer of a Philippine bank has been terminated upon discovery of a fake bank certificate issued to Wirecard's auditor involving a supposed trust account holding the German company's money.

A highly-placed source with knowledge on the issue said Friday one marketing officer at BDO Unibank, Inc. has been sacked after the employee "fabricated a bank certificate in favor of EY Germany," Wirecard's auditor. The bank confirmed the development and said they have already started termination proceedings for the employee.

In a statement, BDO has denied that it is holding any of the $2.1 billion (about ₱107 billion) missing cash of the German payments firm, which was supposed to be held by the bank and by the Bank of the Philippine Islands.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said BDO has reported the incident as early as June 9, which prompted the regulator to conduct its own probe into the matter. Both denied that Wirecard is a client, noting that the documents pertaining to the trust accounts were falsified.

"Wirecard AG has been informed by the auditor EY that an audit certificate for the annual financial statements for the past fiscal year 2019 requires additional audits," the company said Thursday, with the discovery prompting the firm to postpone the release of its 2019 financial statements. 

Wirecard added that the account numbers supposed to be given by the banks could not be found, contrary to the company's claims that it has funds held in escrow by the Philippine lenders.

Wirecard AG's subsidiaries have supposedly paid "substantial security deposits" worth 1.9 billion euros to these offshore accounts, citing that the Asian banks chosen to hold the funds have investment-grade ratings.

Wirecard's long-time CEO Markus Braun resigned Friday amid the controversy, with Dr. James Freis, Jr. stepping in as interim CEO.

The amount is said to be worth one-fourth of the company's consolidated balance sheet. Failure to trace where the amounts are will allow about 2 billion euros worth of loans to Wirecard AG to be terminated.