The former operational director of payment company Wirecard, Jan Marsalek, has been placed on Interpol's international investigation list. The international organization is asking police around the world to arrest him. He has been suspected of "serious fraud" since accounting firm EY found a hole of about $ 2 billion (nearly $ 1.7 billion) in the company's budget.
Marsalek has been without a trace since the beginning of the affair. Research collective Bellingcat thinks he fled to Russia in a private plane and believes he is still in the capital, Minsk.
The malpractices at Wirecard came to light in June, when accounting firm EY found the hole in the budget. Former CEO Markus Braun was soon arrested on suspicion of accounting fraud.
The collapse of the payment service provider comes a decade after the first allegation of fraud by investors and journalists, raising the question of why regulators failed to see the fraud. The European Union is therefore reviewing its own rules this summer to ensure that such a scandal cannot take place again.
One of the reasons why the problems at Wirecard have not come to light earlier is that the payment service provider seems to be falling between the quay and the ship when it comes to supervision. Wirecard makes electronic payments, but also owns a bank, which would have created a lack of clarity as to who the company should audit.
In recent weeks, the German financial regulator BaFin and accountant regulator FREP have come under fire for their role in the Wirecard affair. Both BaFin and FREP controlled Wirecard.