Wirecard Scandal: Europol Manhunt for Europe's Most Wanted "Marsalek"

More+More+ ♦ Published: December 7, 2021; 13:27 ♦ (Vindobona)

Former COO of Wirecard Jan Marsalek, one of Europe's most wanted fugitives, is still the target of an international manhunt for his suspected role in a multi-billion euro fraud scheme. Read about the ongoing search for Marsalek and Europol's 2021 "EU's Most Wanted" campaign.

Some of Europe's most wanted fugitives, including the former COO of Wirecard AG, Jan Marsalek (middle row, 2nd from left). / Picture: © Europol / 2021 Europe's most wanted

Jan Marsalek, the former Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Wirecard AG, remains one of Europol’s most wanted fugitives for his role in the massive Wirecard fraud scandal.

As COO, Marsalek was responsible for the entire operational business, including sales, and since at least 2015, he had been largely responsible for the Asia business and the TPA business.

According to Europol, the Austrian-born former executive is suspected of having committed commercial gang fraud, embezzlement, and other property and economic offenses. These offenses are estimated to have been in the billions of euros.

Wirecard had filed for insolvency in June 2020. The payment service provider is alleged to have falsified its balance sheets for years. A total of about 3 billion euros in escrow accounts in Asia can no longer be found.

While his last known residence was in Munich, Europol has said that, based on the current results of the investigation, it is considered very likely that Marsalek will be staying abroad.

In September, Vindobona.org reported that a close confidant of Marsalek’s, Briton Henry O’Sullivan, had been arrested in Singapore.

Some media outlets have reported on Marsalek’s possible connections to the Russian GRU and have speculated that he may be hiding in Russia. In 2020, the German “Handelsblatt” even suggested that Marsalek was living in a mansion near Moscow under GRU supervision.

As with all of the most wanted fugitives, Europol is asking the public for any information that could help lead to the arrest of Marsalek.

Jan Marsalek was born in Austria in 1980 (41 years old), is approximately 180 cm tall, has brown eyes, and speaks German, French, and English.

Marsalek’s Europol profile, which includes a picture, can be found here.

“Hiding in plain sight”

Some of Europe’s most wanted criminals are long-term fugitives who have evaded law enforcement for years.

Europol warns that fugitives like Jan Marsalek “could even be living relatively ordinary lives at present but have a dark, criminal past that they are desperate to hide.”

This is why the 2021 EU Most Wanted Campaign’s motto is “Hiding in plain sight.”

As such, Europol is asking the public to look at the pictures and information of the fugitives on its website and report any information that could help lead to the arrest of these individuals.

Since the “EU’s Most Wanted” website was first created in 2016, 110 fugitives have been arrested, and 41 of these arrests were linked to tips provided to the website.

In 2020 alone, 16 total arrests were made, with five being linked to tips on the website.

The website and campaign are run by the European Network of Fugitive Active Search Teams (ENFAST), in cooperation with Europol.

The members of ENFAST are all specialized in locating fugitives who are suspected, or have been convicted, of serious crimes and are subjects of European Arrest Warrants.

Europol’s Deputy Executive Director of Operations, Jean-Philippe Lecouffe, said, “At the heart of this campaign is justice for the victims. By checking the EU Most Wanted website and viewing the fugitives, you could help apprehend a long-term criminal and bring them to justice. So far, 110 fugitives have been arrested; Europol and national law enforcement authorities need your help to protect European citizens.”