NEW YORK, USA – United States officials are examining whether scandal-ridden Wirecard played a key role in an alleged bank fraud conspiracy connected to an online marijuana marketplace, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, July 8.
Officials with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Attorney’s office in New York City are examining the disgraced German fintech company‘s possible connection to two principals behind the Online Marijuana Marketplace Company who were indicted in March, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed sources.
The interest by US criminal investigators opens another flank in myriad probes of the German digital payments firm, which filed for bankruptcy late last month after admitting that 1.9 billion euros ($2.1 billion) was missing from its accounts.
On Monday, July 6, German prosecutors announced a fresh arrest in the case, taking into a custody a top official with Wirecard’s Dubai-based subsidiary.
In the US case, officials in March brought criminal charges against Hamid Akhavan and Ruben Weigand, alleging they received more than $100 million under a transaction laundering scheme that listed payments for marijuana as other services or goods, such as stenographic services, pianos, and cosmetics.
The scheme was an effort to get around restrictions by US banks against processing payments for marijuana purchases.
Akhavan, Weigand, and others at the Online Marijuana Marketplace relied on third-party payment processors who worked with the defendants to create phony offshore corporations and websites, according to federal charges.
US investigators are looking at whether Wirecard served as both a payment processors and offshore bank in the scheme. The US agencies are also looking at the role played by former and current Wirecard executives, the Journal reported.
Wirecard declined to comment on the WSJ story. – Rappler.com
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