Pinoy lawyer in Wirecard scandal talks with NBI

June 30, 2020
Atty. Mark Tolentino

MARK Tolentino, a Filipino lawyer and former Transportation official implicated in the Wirecard controversy, appeared before the National Bureau of Investigation and explained his side on the US$2.1-billion missing funds. 

He, however, failed to divulge the details of his meeting with operatives of the NBI-Anti-Fraud Division. 

"Verbal explanation muna. I will submit a written explanation," he told reporters on Monday. 

Tolentino earlier denied being a Wirecard trustee but admitted he opened bank accounts for his client.

He admitted to a foreign news agency that he was surprised to be linked to the German payments firm and that he was the "victim of a frame-up".

Tolentino said he opened six bank accounts for a Singapore-based firm in Philippine banks, but did not know until the scandal broke that they were for Wirecard. He said the accounts never had more than a few hundred euros in them.

Specifically, Tolentino said he opened six euro bank accounts in the name of his law firm, MKT Law, at the Bank of the Philippines Islands (BPI) and Banco de Oro Unibank (BDO) on behalf of Citadelle Corporate.

For their parts, BPI and BDO both said Wirecard was not their clients and that documents purporting to show Wirecard had deposited funds with them were false.

Tolentino was a former transport assistant secretary in the Duterte administration, but was removed in 2018 for discussing a government project with the president’s sister.

Wirecard hogged international news recently after the troubled German payment service provider reported a missing sum of 1.9 billion Euros or US$2.1 billion. 

Ealier, Guevarra directed the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate if Filipinos were implicated in the Wirecard scandal.

Wirecard AG was once regarded as a star of the growing financial technology sector, but its shares have fallen sharply after the company became the subject of multiple Financial Times reports about accounting irregularities in its Asian operations. 

Wirecard disputed the reports, which started in February 2019, and said it was the victim of speculators.