Wirecard Fugitive Jan Marsalek was ‘Russian Spymaster in Europe’

Posted on: April 9, 2024, 06:39h. 

Last updated on: April 9, 2024, 06:39h.

Fugitive former Wirecard COO Jan Marsalek was a Russian spymaster who coordinated espionage operations across Europe, according to allegations by British intelligence that have just recently come to light.

Jan Marsalek, Egisto Ott, Russian spy, Wirecard
Jan Marsalek, pictured in Red Square, Moscow, prior to his 2020 escape to Russia days after Wirecard’s collapse. He is currently one of the world’s most wanted men. (Image: Daily Mirror)

Marsalek, who fled to Russia on a false passport in the wake of Wirecard’s epic 2020 collapse, worked closely with Austrian intelligence official Egisto Ott, an alleged double agent. Together, the pair allegedly coordinated break-ins and assassinations on behalf of the Russian government.

Marsalek also got his hands on a SINA computer, NATO’s most advanced cryptography machine, which he smuggled to Moscow, according to the documents.

The allegations appear in an 86-page police warrant for Ott’s arrest and are based on information supplied to Austrian authorities by Britain’s MI5 intelligence service. Ott was detained March 29. He denies the accusations against him.

Online Gambling Origins

Wirecard began life as a payment processor for online gambling and pornography websites and grew into the leading light of the German fintech sector, with a $28 billion market cap – the German “Paypal.”

It was one of the wealthiest traded entities on the German stock exchange and almost bought out Deutsche Bank. That was until auditors found a $2 billion hole in its balance sheet.

Marsalek fled Germany on June 23, 2020, just days after Wirecard’s collapse, claiming he was going to the Philippines to look for the missing billions. But it was a false trail.

Someone in the Philippines forged immigration records to make it appear that Marsalek had entered the country. Instead, it’s believed he flew to Minsk, Belarus, and from there made his way to Moscow.

He is currently on trial in absentia in Munich on charges that include market manipulation and gang-related fraud in what has been dubbed Germany’s “trial of the century.”

‘Shadow Bank’

Allegations that Marsalek was a Russian spy emerged shortly after his disappearance. But the revelation that he may have been the Kremlin’s point man in Europe raises questions about whether Wirecard operated as a shadow bank for Russia and funded its operations in the Middle East.

In 2017, Marsalek is believed to have used Wirecard to supply Russian state-funded mercenary company the Wagner Group with equipment in Syria and Libya, according to Der Spiegel.

With the alleged help of Ott, who had access to the Schengen Information System — a database of visitors entering and leaving the European Union – Marsalek was able to track the movements of Russian dissidents to inform elite Kremlin-backed hit squads, per British intelligence.

This may have enabled the assassination of a Chechen dissident in central Berlin in August 2019.

Ott allegedly prepared a “lessons learned” report for Russian intelligence after the hit.

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