After the bankruptcy of the payment processor Wirecard, the connections of the group and some of its managers to the security authorities became a case for the Bundestag’s intelligence officers. At the request of the FDP member of the Bundestag, Stephan Thomae, the parliamentary control body of the Bundestag, which oversees the German intelligence services, is to deal with the issue. Among other things, it is about the escape of Wirecard board member Jan Marsalek and his possible contacts with foreign secret services as well as the lobbying for Wirecard of the former secret service agent in the Chancellery, Klaus-Dieter Fritsche, said Thomae Personal-Financial.com. “I will therefore request a special session.”
In the Wirecard thriller, connections of the Dax group in intelligence circles became known immediately after the bankruptcy at the end of June. It turned out that Marsalek, who is responsible for operational business, has boasted in the past of contacts and knowledge that indicates close relationships with Russian secret services. Marsalek was dismissed from the Wirecard board in mid-June and then went underground. In doing so, he had set the wrong tracks – for example in the direction of the Philippines. Marsalek is now suspected in Russia.
“We have to clarify how Marsalek managed to go into hiding and who helped him with it,” said FDP vice-group leader Thomae. If foreign services should have helped the Wirecard manager to escape, the question arises as to what interest they have in Marsalek and what he can do with them, Thomae said. At Wirecard, Marsalek was also responsible for the Asian business, which is at the center of the alleged balance sheet fraud. Much of Wirecard’s Asian business was conducted through Dubai, which is considered a safe haven for financial transactions by criminal groups and terrorists due to lax supervision by security experts. It is conceivable, for example, that Wirecard also enabled money laundering for such groups – and thus also provided valuable information for secret services.
Lobby appointment in the Chancellery
This week it had also become known that Fritsche, who served as Federal Intelligence Officer at the Chancellery from 2014 to 2018 and was formerly Vice-President of the Protection of the Constitution, worked for Wirecard after his retirement. According to a list by the federal government, Fritsche organized an appointment for the group in September 2019 in the chancellery with his former colleague Lars-Hendrik Röller, the economic adviser to Chancellor Angela Merkel. Wirecard’s CFO Alexander von Knoop and his predecessor Burkhard Ley took part. Ley is also one of the former top managers arrested by the Munich I prosecutor earlier this week.
“Why is a secret service agent like Fritsche working for a fintech service provider?” Asked the FDP parliamentarian Thomae. He pointed out that after leaving the service Fritsche also advised the Austrian Ministry of the Interior, which was then led by the FPÖ. In turn, the fleeting Wirecard manager Marsalek also had good contacts with the FPÖ, as is now known. Therefore, it must be investigated, for example, whether Fritsche Marsalek has given access to intelligence services, said intelligence officer Thomae. At his request, the Bundestag’s supervisory body, which meets secretly, should deal with the case during the summer break. First, however, the special meeting of the Finance Committee on Wirecard will be awaited next Wednesday, said the FDP MP.