John Marsalek is said to have headed the Russian intelligence unit in Vienna

The former Wireguard boss allegedly spied on Krysto Krochev, a key Kremlin journalist, in Vienna along with two former BVT officials. Even today he may be spying on behalf of the Russians in Austria.

A daring manager of a DAX company, a sympathetic adrenaline junkie, a spy in the service of Russia: Jan Marsalek, a former board member of the payment service provider Wirecard, led a double life for years without German and Austrian authorities taking action. For investigation by “Standard” , “Spiegel”, ZDF and Russian intelligence site The Insider. Today, the 43-year-old still spies on Austrian officials, politicians and companies on behalf of the Russians.

Investigators assigned Marsalek and two former officials from the disbanded Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Combating Terrorism (BVT) to an “intelligence unit” that spies on people “in the interests of the Russian Federation.” to say Former BVT staff are also said to have fueled the BVT raids under former Home Secretary Herbert Giggle. Both deny allegations that they sold information from the office protecting the Constitution. According to “Der Spiegel”, agents who worked closely with Marsalek also now work in the Directorate of State Security and Intelligence (DSN).

Attack plans on journalist Grozev

According to research, one of Marsalek's BVT cell targets was journalist Christo Grosev. As head of the Bellingcat research site, he spent years uncovering the machinations of the Russian secret services. In 2020 Bellingate revealed the identities of the spies who poisoned late Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

At the end of 2020, BVT agents investigated Grozev's private address in Vienna and took photographs of the house, according to “Der Standard”. Marsalek had already gone abroad at that time. In 2023, Grochev moved to Germany due to specific attack warnings from Western secret services. A trial is currently underway in London against a five-member spy ring tasked with tracking down, abducting and killing Kremlin critics from Marsalakh.

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Disguised as a priest

According to research, Russia's secret services specifically recruited Marsalek. As the operations director of a company that engaged in global payment transactions and counted international corporations and the German Federal Intelligence Service among its clients, he was of great interest to Moscow. According to “Der Spiegel”, Russia's secret services apparently killed Natalja S. He was supposed to help Marsalek with the contract with Moscow Metro. The then 29-year-old – a sensual model and the protagonist of a sex film – is said to have had excellent relations with the Moscow administration. She became his lover.

Marsalek and S. to discuss with dictator Ramzan Kadyrov's family how about $100 million was smuggled from Hong Kong to the West.

Marcellus assumed the identity of a priest

Stanislaw Petlinksi, an “extended arm of the Russian secret services,” was also central to Marsalek's transformation from businessman to spy, according to “Spiegel.” He reportedly handed the Austrian over to the GRU military intelligence service in 2014 and was a frequent guest at Marsalek's Munich control center — an Art Nouveau villa on Prinzregentenstrasse. In addition, after the Wirecard fraud scandal was exposed in 2020, Betlinsky probably gave Marsalek a new identity with an introduction: a Russian Orthodox priest, writes “Der Standard”, “who looks like him”.

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