Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday said the Filipino lawyer linked into the financial scandal involving German payments firm Wirecard has claimed that he has been getting death threats.
Atty. Mark Tolentino went to the National Bureau of Investigation on Monday to shed light on his alleged role in the Wirecard’s supposedly missing $2.1 billion.
“Atty. Tolentino said he was hired by his principal early this year to provide consultancy services,” Guevarra said in a text message to reporters.
Guevarra said that Tolentino is set to submit a formal affidavit.
“He said he’s receiving death threats,” the Justice Guevarra added.
Tolentino was reported to have been appointed a trustee of Wirecard to open six accounts at Philippine banks to hold $2.1 billion in escrow. He has since claimed he was framed and is a victim of identity theft.
According to him, the “foreigners” went to his office early this year telling him they wanted to start a business in the Philippines. He said he told them they can open a corporation but that they told him they were in a hurry.
“They said, ‘can you be the trustee of the company? Then, they handed over a letter...,” Tolentino was quoted as saying in an earlier report.
The lawyer claimed that he just received the letter requesting him to be a trustee.
Tolentino narrated that he opened three euro accounts under his law firm, M.K. Tolentino Law & Business Consultancy Office, at BDO Unibank and another three at the Bank of the Philippine Islands and made initial deposits “just enough to buy an iPhone.”
The lawyer said the bank accounts were all under his law firm and “not in trust of Wirecard.” He said he later found out that Wirecard made documents using his bank name to justify the supposedly missing $2.1 billion.
BDO and BPI have earlier denied involvement with Wirecard, saying the documents presented to the banks were forged or spurious.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said none of Wirecard’s missing billions entered the country’s financial system. Wirecard itself has said the missing money likely never existed.
Wirecard’s resigned chief executive, Markus Braun, was arrested on suspicion of market manipulation last week.
Guevarra earlier said that Jan Marsalek, a former board member of Wirecard, was in the Philippines last week but has left for China.