Jun 4, 2021 @ 14:16

NBI charges Duterte’s former Transportation assistant secretary over US$2.1B Wirecard mess

The National Bureau of Investigation has filed slew of charges against a lawyer before the Department of Justice in connection with the Wirecard controversy that hogged international news after the German payment service provider reported a missing sum of 1.9 billion Euros or US$2.1 billion.

Charged by the NBI and Bank of the Philippine Islands thru Arlene Jore are:

•Atty. Mark Kristopher G. Tolentino and M.K. Tolentino Law Office
•Joey Dela Cruz Arellano a.k.a. Joey Cruz Arellano
•Judith Singayan Pe
•Jan Marsalek
•Jane Does and John Does

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.

They were charged with:

•Falsification of Commercial Documents in relation to Cybercrime (Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Section 6 of R.A. No. 10175)

•Violation of Section 55.1 in relation to Section 56.1 of R.A. No. 8791 (The General Banking Act) in further relation to Section 36 of R.A. No. 7653 as amended by R.A. No. 11211 (New Central Bank Act) in relation to Section 6 of R.A. No. 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012)

•Violation of Section 33 of R.A. No. 8792 (Electronic Commerce Act)

•Violation of Section 4(a)(b) of R.A. No. 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012)

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

The scandal led to the firing and later arrest of Wirecard executive John Marsalek. The company’s CEO, Markus Braun, also resigned from his post due to the scandal and was also arrested.

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.

Last June, Tolentino denied being a Wirecard 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.

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.

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