Possible Spy Ring: Ex-Wirecard Manager and Suspected Russian Spies on Trial

PeopleOther ♦ Published: September 26, 2023; 18:06 ♦ (Vindobona)

British investigators suspect that former Wirecard manager and Austrian Jan Marsalek was involved in a spy network acting for Russia. This information became known through a communication from the British public prosecutor's office and was later reported by BBC and "Spiegel".

The ex-Wirecard manager Jan Marsalek, who has gone into hiding and is wanted worldwide by arrest warrants, is suspected by British investigators of having been part of a spy network for Russia. / Picture: © Polizeipräsidium München (Munich Police Department)

Marsalek is believed to have funded and run an agent ring in Britain from Russia, the "Spiegel" reports. He is also believed to have played a key role as an intermediary between Moscow and a group of Bulgarians who went on trial Tuesday in London for allegedly spying for Russia.

As reported by the BBC, according to the court notice, Marsalek is accused of planning a conspiracy between Aug. 30, 2020, and Feb. 8, 2023, to gather information that would be useful to an enemy and could endanger Britain's national security.

Related to this case was the arrest in mid-August of five Bulgarian nationals who have been in custody since February, the BBC reported. They are accused of possessing identity documents with dishonest intent, including passports from Britain, Italy, and France. These defendants allegedly posed as journalists and forged documents and surveillance equipment were found during raids.

According to the BBC; investigators believe Marsalek may have given orders to the 45-year-old leader of this suspected spy cell, Orlin Roussev. Roussev allegedly then passed those assignments on to other members of the cell. Among the orders were allegedly the procurement of military equipment for Russia and surveillance of certain individuals and locations, including a NATO base in Germany and the Kazakh Embassy in London.

Marsalek is also suspected of acting on behalf of Russian intelligence agencies, with targets being individuals disagreeable to the Kremlin. It is feared that the suspected spies may also have planned assassinations or kidnappings.

Wildcard: company with many scandals

The Wirecard scandal occurred in 2020 when it became known that 1.9 billion euros were missing from the company's third-party business, Vindobona.org reported. Prosecutors accuse the company leadership of accounting fraud and fraud, as Vindobona.org reported.

As time went on, more and more scandals surrounding the company came to light, ranging from connections to Russian security agencies to the biggest fraud in German history. Jan Marsalek was formerly Wirecard's chief sales officer and is considered the main suspect in the Wirecard scandal. He was considered a leading figure at Wirecard and was responsible for the Asian business there. Jan Marsalek went into hiding when Wirecard collapsed three years ago and is wanted internationally. He is currently believed to be in Russia and has not yet issued a statement on the current allegations, Vindobona.org reported.