Former Wirecard executive Jan Marsalek, one of Europe‘s most wanted fugitives, has released a statement through his lawyer commenting on the ongoing trial into the fraud scandal that brought down the company, a German court said Tuesday.
A district court in Munich has received a letter from Marsalek’s lawyer, a court spokesman told AFP, confirming a report in the weekly Wirtschaftswoche. The spokesman declined to comment on the contents of the letter.
It was the first sign of life from Marsalek, a shadowy figure with ties to foreign intelligence services, who evaded arrest in 2020 by staging a daring escape from Vienna by private jet.
He was last reported to have been seen in Russia.
Wirecard, a once celebrated payments company, imploded in June 2020 after it was forced to admit that 1.9 billion euros ($2.1 billion) in cash, meant to be sitting in trustee accounts in Asia, did not actually exist.
The firm’s Austrian-born ex-CEO Markus Braun has been in the dock since December alongside Wirecard’s ex-accounting boss Stephan von Erffa and Oliver Bellenhaus, the former head of Wirecard’s Dubai subsidiary.
Prosecutors allege that the trio invented revenue streams with third-party companies to inflate Wirecard’s accounts and make the loss-making company appear profitable.
Marsalek’s lawyer Frank Eckstein, contacted by AFP, also offered little detail on what was in Marsalek’s letter to the court.
“We spoke of various facets and various people” linked to the Wirecard case, he said.
Wirtschaftswoche reported citing criminal justice sources that Marsalek’s letter had mainly levelled accusations against Bellenhaus.
Bellenhaus has admitted to fraud and turned chief witness for the prosecution. He told judges in December that Wirecard was “a scam” from the start with Braun “at the core of everything”.
Braun, who has been in custody for more than two years, has always denied wrongdoing. His defence team has instead painted Marsalek as the mastermind behind the fraud.
Wirecard’s collapse sent shockwaves through Germany, drawing parallels with the accounting scandal at US energy giant Enron in the early 2000s.
The trial is set to run well into 2024.