Immigration officers reassigned over ‘false entries’ that Wirecard’s ex-COO entered PH in June

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 4) — It’s settled. Jan Marsalek, the former chief operating officer of German firm Wirecard, did not enter the country on June 23 as earlier shown in the Bureau of Immigration’s database, the Department of Justice said Saturday.

The Immigration officers who encoded the “fictitious entries” in the database have been relieved from their post and are facing administrative sanctions, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a statement.

“The investigation has now turned to the persons who made the false entries in the data base, their motives, and their cohorts,” Guevarra said.

On Sunday, Guevarra said one of the officers was from the head office, while the other was stationed at the Mactan Cebu International Airport. He said the persons relieved were transferred to other units pending investigation.

"We'll find out if other persons were involved, as well as their motives, once the work of the BI fact-finding committee is completed," he said.

"Once the fact-finding report shows culpability, the appropriate sanctions will be imposed," he added.

Justice Undersecretary and Spokesperson Mark Perete meanwhile also told CNN Philippines that another angle being pursued in the investigation is the possible involvement of officers from the BI’s Management Information Systems Division.

“Specifically tinitignan natin ‘yung possible participation ng management ng Information System ng Bureau of Immigration, dahil nagkaroon ng cancellation nung record regarding the entry of Mr. Marsalek supposedly on the 23rd of June,” he said.

[Translation: Specifically, we are looking into the possible participation of the management of the BI’s Information System, because there had been a cancellation of the record regarding the entry of Mr. Marsalek supposedly on the 23rd of June.]

A reasoning behind the suspicion is that the cancellation could not have been possible “without some sort of help” from the said office, he added.

Based on CCTV footage and other records, Marsalek did not arrive in the Philippines on June 23, nor did he leave the next day for China, Guevarra said, adding that there was no flight to China that day.

Guevarra first told CNN Philippines that the Immigration records even showed that Marsalek was accompanied by his Filipina wife, that's why he was able to enter the country despite travel restrictions brought by the coronavirus crisis.

This is on top of an earlier visit, where he flew in on March 3 and stayed at a Makati City hotel until March 5, Guevarra said.

Marsalek was earlier dismissed amid Wirecard’s claims that they had $2.1 billion (about ₱104 billion) placed under the trust of two Philippine banks and later went missing.

Wirecard's sacked chief executive officer Markus Braun was arrested in Germany for suspected accounting fraud following the exposé that the firm could have been padding its financial statements, particularly transaction volumes in Asia, to make it attractive to more investors.

The Anti-Money Laundering Council is investigating several persons and business entities that have links to embattled German firm.

CNN Philippines' Melissa Lopez and Kristel Limpot contributed to this report.