MANILA – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has recommended the prosecution of two Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers before the Department of Justice (DOJ) for falsifying travel records of former Wirecard chief operating officer Jan Marsalek.
In a statement on Thursday, NBI officer-in-charge director Eric Distor identified the immigration officers (IO) as Perry Michael Pancho, assigned at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) and Marcus Nicodemus, assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1, Pasay City.
The NBI recommended to the DOJ that Pancho and Nicodemus be charged with Falsification of Public Documents by a Public Official under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code and violation of Republic Act (RA) 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) in relation to RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).
The two, the NBI said, processed Marsalek’s spurious arrival and departure records into the country on June 23 to 24 to mislead pursuing international investigators.
Another immigration officer, Darren Ilagan, who appeared before the NBI said he had been ordered by the two in a “pabukol” scheme where he was asked to encode Marsalek’s details to make it appear that the Austrian national arrived in the country on June 23 and subsequently left the next day even as no flights in the Philippines was allowed amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
“The entries on the BI records for June 23 and 24, 2020, both spurious, appear to be mere diversionary in order to divert the attention of the authorities in Europe to focus its attention in the Philippines and not in their jurisdiction,” the NBI said.
The NBI said under present protocols, when a passenger presents himself at the immigration counter for arrival or departure formalities, the assigned immigration officer performs an electronic derogatory check of its database to know if a passenger has an outstanding arrest warrant, included in a watchlist or otherwise blacklisted.
Distor noted that the travel was spurious since as of that date, passengers have been disallowed to enter Philippine territory due to the Covid-19 situation.
There was also no actual scanned data page of the passport of Marsalek.
It was found out that Ilagan was not in the official list of IOs on duty for the June 23 mid-flight schedule and thus believed to have merely went beyond his duty to encode the same.
Pancho was also not in the official list of IOs on duty for the morning schedule on June 24 and thus believed to have merely gone beyond his duty to encode the same to make it appear Marsalek left the country.
Distor also said Marsalek’s departure is spurious since closed circuit television (CCTV) camera footages at the MCIA on June 24 showed that the BI counters are unmanned because there are no available flights immediately before and after the supposed spurious flights.
There was also no actual scanned data page of the passport but a page of an unknown passport with the stamp of the Bureau of Quarantine.
The Philippine Airport Ground Staff (PAGS)/Cebu Station Flight dispatcher has also certified that the flight was canceled since February 1 due to the pandemic, making it impossible for Marsalek to be in Cebu on the morning of June 24 after his arrival in Manila in the evening of June 23.
The NBI also said there are no indications that Marsalek is still in the country aside from the confirmation that he indeed arrived at the NAIA Terminal 3 on March 3 and departed on March 5.
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the NBI confirmed that German businessman Christopher Reinhard Bauer, a former executive of Wirecard Asia, died of natural causes in Parañaque City on July 27.
“He was subsequently cremated. He was the same person summoned by the NBI in connection with the Wirecard fraud investigation,” Guevarra added.
Bauer is married to a Filipino woman and is engaged in a tourism business.
Wirecard saw its shares crash after its auditor said it could not trace 1.9 billion euros in cash, representing roughly a quarter of the firm’s balance sheet.
Markus Braun, Wirecard’s chief executive officer, had been arrested in Germany after being accused of inflating the company’s balance sheet. (PNA)