NBI wants two Immigration officers charged for fake travel records of ex-Wirecard COO

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 13) – Two Immigration officials may face criminal charges for tampering with travel records of an executive of embattled German firm Wirecard.

The National Bureau of Investigation bared Thursday its recommendation to charge Immigration Officers Perry Michael Pancho and Marcus Nicodemus for falsifying the travel documents of Jan Marsalek, former chief operating officer of Wirecard.

READ: Immigration officers reassigned over ‘false entries’ that Wirecard’s ex-COO entered PH in June

Marsalek, who is being pursued by German authorities for reported fraud which sent the e-payments firm into insolvency, had travel records showing he entered Manila on June 23 and left the next day via Cebu.

NBI personnel mounted an investigation and saw that Marsalek's travel records showed an arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport encoded by another immigration officer named Darren Ilagan, but was cancelled by a staff member. The database also showed that Pancho encoded that Marsalek left the Mactan Cebu International Airport the following day.

"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 in a statement.

The investigators concluded it was not possible for Marsalek to enter the country at the height of inbound travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Marsalek's passport details were also not included in the record, breaking away from protocol. To add, Ilagan was not on duty at that time and should have not been manning immigration booths when the foreigner supposedly entered the country.

Authorities also flagged the records purportedly showing Marsalek left via Cebu on June 24, as there were no outbound flights at the time and Pancho was also not supposed to be on duty when the input was made into the system. To add, there was an unknown passport page scanned carrying the stamp of the Bureau of Quarantine.

Meanwhile, Nicodemus is involved in the issue as supervisor for the day, who was supposed to be aware if passengers with derogatory records are entering or leaving the country.

READ: Several persons of interest linked to Wirecard probed for money laundering – AMLC

Investigators want Nicodemus and Pancho to be charged by the Department of Justice for falsification of public documents and violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The NBI said only Ilagan showed up when invited for questioning and that he revealed Nicodemus ordered the derogatory record check on Marsalek. This is done when a person is about to enter or leave the country. He then realized that he might have been made to do a personal favor, the report said.

Official records showed that Marsalek last set foot in Manila on March 3 and left two days later – months before the controversy erupted.

RELATED: DOJ confirms death of exec tagged in Wirecard mess

Filipino lawyers, as well as lenders BDO Unibank and the Bank of the Philippine Islands, have been tagged in the $2.1-billion controversy. Wirecard earlier claimed that the money was held in trust by the two local lenders, but even the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said such funds never entered the country.

The company later said the funds may not have existed in the first place.