Saturday, July 18, 2020

"World's Most Wanted Man ... Located in Belarus; Data Points to Russian Intel Links"

Bellingcat:

The company he oversaw operationally, Germany’s Wirecard, collapsed overnight last month after auditors brought attention to a nearly 2 billion Euro gaping hole in its balance sheet.

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Since 2015, he has pursued projects in Libya – including investing in the Libya Cement Company, and has engaged with Russian advisors and European officials to discuss plans for ‘humanitarian reconstruction in Libya’ – seen by observers as a plan to establish a mercenary force

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Whatever kept bringing Marsalek to Russia in 2015 and 2016 must have caught up with him in 2017. After 4 trips in early in the year – as usual, each no longer than a day or two – Wirecard’s COO flew back from Munich to Moscow on 9 September 2017, but did not leave until a week later. In fact, he was not allowed to leave even when he attempted to

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[His] Russian immigration dossier is the most unusual one we have reviewed, and not simply due to it sprawling over hundreds of pages. It also contains an unusual array of different passports – all tied to the same person, and to his visits to Russia.
When short sellers asserted years ago that Wirecard was engaging in fraud and money-laundering, German investigators went after the short sellers:
With encouragement from Wirecard’s lawyers and despite red flags about the company, financial markets watchdog Bafin and Bavarian state prosecutors in Munich moved swiftly against short sellers after a February 2016 research report alleged fraud and money-laundering at Wirecard, according to confidential documents related to the probe.

The documents, which include hundreds of pages of investigative reports, correspondence and other memos, have not been previously reported. While it is known that German authorities investigated skeptical investors who raised questions about the company behind one of the biggest corporate frauds in German history, the documents provide new details about the speed and tenacity with which they pursued detractors and the extent of their faith in management.
Eventually, the short sellers were proven right:
Short sellers, who borrow shares and sell them hoping to buy them back for less in the future, notched paper profits of $2.6 billion off Wirecard's plunge, according to data-analytics firm S3 Partners.