(Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department is examining whether German payment company Wirecard AG (WDIG.DE) played a critical role in an alleged $100 million bank-fraud conspiracy connected to an online marijuana marketplace, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office and the New York field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation are examining whether Wirecard played a role in the alleged conspiracy by serving as both a payment processor and an offshore merchant bank, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.
The authorities are also considering the possible role of several former or current top Wirecard executives, according to the report. (on.wsj.com/38FTl6V)
Wirecard filed for insolvency last month, owing creditors 4 billion euros ($4.5 billion) after disclosing a 1.9 billion euro hole in its accounts that its auditor EY said was the result of a sophisticated global fraud.
The Journal said two businessmen have already been charged in the alleged bank fraud, accused of conspiring with third-party payment processors and others to trick U.S. banks into approving credit-card payments for marijuana products.
A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment “at this time.” Wirecard also declined to comment.
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