US authorities are investigating whether Wirecard “played a critical role” in an alleged $100m (£79m) fraud conspiracy, the Wall Street Journal has reported.
An insider told the paper that the Manhattan US Attorney’s office and the New York field office of the FBI are now probing whether Wirecard was involved in the bank-fraud, connected to an online marijuana marketplace, by serving as both a payment processor and an offshore merchant bank.
While two businessmen have already been charged with the alleged fraud, authorities are reportedly considering whether “several” Wirecard executives were involved.
The businessmen in custody have so far been accused of conspiring with third-party payment processors to “trick” US banks into approving credit-card payments for marijuana products.
According to the WSJ, a law enforcement official “familiar with the investigation” confirmed the investigation, but gave no further details.
News of the investigation comes only days after a second former Wirecard executive was arrested by authorities.
Oliver Bellenhaus, who ran Wirecard’s CardSystems Middle East, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud, attempted fraud and aiding and abetting other crimes, prosecutors said.
According to the Financial Times, he will remain in police custody over fears that he may try to flee or tamper with evidence.
He is the second senior Wirecard employee to be arrested, following the arrest of former-CEO executive Markus Braun last month. Braun has since been released on €5m (£4.4m) bail.
As part of an ongoing investigation, police and public prosecutors raided the Munich headquarters of Wirecard last week.
According to Reuters, authorities have also raided four properties in Germany and Austria as part of their widened investigation into the scandal-hit group.