A financial scandal has rocked Germany as its fintech darling comes crashing following revelations some $2.1 billion, about a quarter of its assets, has gone missing.
Fingers are now being pointed towards Mark Kristopher G. Tolentino (pictured), the so called “Trustee 2” who managed this money and apparently is not responding.
According to a mainstream German daily, after being appointed as trustee in late 2019 Tolentino is said to have opened six accounts for Wirecard with the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and BDO Unibank.
“He is said to have deposited 393.5 million euros for Wirecard UK & Ireland Ltd. For Wirecard Technology GmbH it was 400.5 million. 30 million for Wirecard AG, 20 million for Wirecard Sales International GmbH and finally almost 1.1 billion for the subsidiary Cardsystem Middle East FZ LLC. In total: 1.938 billion euros,” they say.
When KPMG auditors went to talk to these banks however, BPI told them there are no business relationships with Wirecard, while BDO said Wirecard is not a customer.
The two banks further said the money could not be found, with the Philippines central bank also saying this two billion “never reached the Philippine financial system.” If it had, they would have noticed it as it would amount to 5% of all foreign currency deposits they said.
Wirecard is a financial company founded in 1999 that through a subsidiary was also an issuer for crypto payment card providers Crypto.com and TenX.
FT alleged in January 2019 that a senior executive was suspected of “falsification of accounts” and “money laundering,” with Wirecard launching a lawsuit in response for “unethical reporting” and market manipulation.
KPMG was hired to audit the accounts, stating in March 2020 that it did not receive sufficient documentation to address all allegations of accounting irregularities.
KPMG tried for months to asses the relationship between Tolentino and Wirecard, but no documents were submitted to clarify how Wirecard had assessed Tolentino’s reliability.
That’s especially important because Tolentino was Philippine’s department head responsible for railway construction in the Ministry of Transport in 2018. Then:
“The President has terminated the services of Assistant Secretary Mark Tolentino for having dealings with a presidential relative, a sister,” media reported at the time.
The Philippine’s Department of Transport stated it “welcomes and strongly supports the decision of the President to terminate the services of Mr. Tolentino as Assistant Secretary for Railways due to questionable dealings and unfairly involving the first family with matters regarding the Mindanao Railway Project.”
Tolentino is described as a litigation and corporate lawyer, published author, law professor, and a media personality.
His involvement in managing the trust money for Wirecard for its Asian business makes him a key figure in this huge scandal.
Some are suspecting the money does not exist at all, with the auditors allegedly given Wirecard accounts with false signatures from bank representatives.
Wirecard however feels cheated, with the fintech company needing third parties to do business in the Far East as it does not have a license in Asia.
Moreover Spiegel says they did not deposit the euros at a major international bank, like HSBC, because Asian traders wanted to see the money deposited at one of the local credit institutions.
As Tolentino was the one managing these funds, he is now rising as the central figure in what some are calling Germany’s Enron scandal.