THREE immigration personnel have been suspended by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for allegedly tampering with travel records of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in relation to the supposed trip of former Wirecard chief operating officer Jan Marsalek to the Philippines following the expose of the $2.2 billion fund disappearing scandal.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday said the three were suspended last month: “The DOJ suspended three BI personnel last month for tampering with the travel records of Jan Marsalek, Wirecard’s fugitive former top executive officer.”
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) back in August filed charges of falsification of public documents against Perry Michael Pancho and Marcus Nicodemus who were assigned at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) and at terminal 1 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), respectively, for making it appear that Marsalek came into the country on June 23 to evade German authorities who were running after him, and then left a day later from Cebu to China. Marsalek is being pursued by German authorities in connection with the $2.2 billion Wirecard fraud.
Pancho and Nicodemus were also charged for violation of the Code of Ethical Standards among Government Officials and Employees in relation to Republic 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Guevarra said the third staff is “based at the BI main office in Intramuros.”
The NBI said their probe showed it was not possible for Marsalek to enter and leave the country during the time that he was supposed to be in the Philippines due to the strict inbound and outbound travel restrictions imposed by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“They tried to make it appear that Jan Marsalek arrived in Cebu last June and departed the following morning for China,” Guevarra said.
In a related development, Guevarra said the NBI and the Anti-Money Laundering Council are looking into the financial transactions of a law office and a tour operator linked with the local operations of Wirecard in the country.
He said the probe will be completed before the end of the year.
“The NBI has submitted three partial reports on Marsalek and or Wirecard. We hope to finish the investigation before the year ends,” he said.
Guevarra has previously directed the NBI to coordinate with the AMLC to probe certain individuals in connection with the missing Wirecard funds.
Earlier, former transport official and lawyer Mark Tolentino was dragged into the issue after he was reported to have been appointed as a trustee of Wirecard to open six bank accounts in Philippine banks to hold the funds in escrow.
Tolentino denied the reports and said he was just framed up and is a victim of identity theft.
Tolentino was fired from the DoTr by President Duterte in 2018.