Filipino lawyer in Wirecard mess to appear before NBI

Mark Tolentino, the Filipino lawyer and former government official embroiled in the controversy involving the missing $2.1 billion of German payments provider Wirecard, will appear before the National Bureau of Investigation tomorrow, Monday.

This was to “shed light on his alleged involvement as trustee in the Wirecard mess,” Justice Sec Menardo Guevarra said over the weekend.

Tolentino earlier denied being a trustee but admitted he opened bank accounts for his client.

He admitted to a foreign news agency that he was surprised to be linked to the German payments firm and that he was the “victim of a frame-up”.

Tolentino said he opened six bank accounts for a Singapore-based firm in Philippine banks, but did not know until the scandal broke that they were for Wirecard. He said the accounts never had more than a few hundred euros in them.

Specifically, Tolentino said he opened six euro bank accounts in the name of his law firm, MKT Law, at the Bank of the Philippines Islands (BPI) and Banco de Oro Unibank (BDO) on behalf of Citadelle Corporate.

Singapore company records show Citadelle Corporate is a business administration company based in Singapore.

For their parts, BPI and BDO both said Wirecard was not their clients and that documents purporting to show Wirecard had deposited funds with them were false.

Tolentino was a former transport assistant secretary in the Duterte administration, but was removed in 2018 for discussing a government project with the president’s sister.

Wirecard hogged international news recently after the troubled German payment service provider reported a missing sum of 1.9 billion Euros or US$2.1 billion.

Ealier, Guevarra directed the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate if Filipinos were implicated in the Wirecard scandal.

Wirecard AG was once regarded as a star of the growing financial technology sector, but its shares have fallen sharply after the company became the subject of multiple Financial Times reports about accounting irregularities in its Asian operations.

Wirecard disputed the reports, which started in February 2019, and said it was the victim of speculators.

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