The former chief operating officer of the financial company Wirecard, Jan Marsalek, who is on the run from German justice, is suspected by British investigators of being part of a spy network working for Russia.
Source. This is stated in a statement by the British prosecutor's office on September 26, cited by DW. Earlier, these accusations were reported by Der Spiegel magazine.
According to British investigators, Marsalek played a central role as an intermediary between Moscow and a group of Bulgarians who are to stand trial in London as suspects of spying for Russia.
It is alleged that between August 30, 2020, and February 8, 2023, Marsalek participated in a conspiracy to collect information that "directly or indirectly benefits the enemy and thereby harms the interests and security of the state."
In February, five people were detained in London on suspicion of espionage as part of this case. The leader of the group was Orlin Rusev. According to his LinkedIn profile, he owned an IT company in London that operates in the field of digital surveillance, Der Spiegel writes. Through R., investigators got on the trail of Marsalek, who was reportedly involved in espionage activities even after his escape from Germany.
Jan Marsalek, who previously served as the sales director of the financial company Wirecard, has been hiding from German justice for some time and is believed to be in Russia, where he lives under state protection provided by the FSB.
He is the main suspect in the Wirecard scandal, the dpa news agency reminds. Marsalek was in charge of business with so-called third-party partner companies – external payment service providers that processed or allegedly processed credit card payments on behalf of Wirecard, mostly in Asia.
In June 2020, it turned out that €1.9 billion in revenue from this business had "disappeared without a trace": two banks in the Philippines that allegedly held the money reported that they did not have such an amount and never had it.
On June 25, Wirecard filed for bankruptcy, citing "excessive debt". Marsalek left Germany when the group's collapse became apparent.
According to an investigation by the Dossier Center and the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Marsalek received a Russian passport in 2021 under the fake name of German Bazhenov.
Background. As a reminder, Germany has opened an investigation into a Lithuanian fintech startup over a Wirecard scam.