US prosecutors examining financial transactions at Block, NBC News reports

(Reuters) -U.S. prosecutors are examining financial transactions at Block, NBC News reported on Wednesday, citing two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

NBC reported that federal prosecutors were discussing with a former employee alleged widespread compliance lapses at Square and Cash App, the company’s two main units.

Areas under investigation include whether the company failed to gather sufficient information on customers to assess risks, if Square processed transactions involving countries subject to economic sanctions and if Block handled cryptocurrency transactions for terrorist groups.

Shares in the company were last down 8.8%.

A spokesperson for Block said the company has a “responsible and extensive compliance program” and that it regularly adapts its practices to meet “emerging threats and an evolving sanctions regulatory environment.”

“Continually improving the safety and security of our ecosystem is a top priority for Block. We have been and remain committed to building upon this work, as well as continuing to invest significantly in our compliance program,” the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for the Southern District of New York declined to comment.

The former employee said the company did not address breaches when alerted, and most of the transactions being examined were not reported to the government as required, NBC reported.

Some of the transactions involved sanctioned countries like Cuba, Iran, Russia and Venezuela and are as recent as last year.

(Reporting by Pritam Biswas in Bengaluru, Pete Schroeder in Washington and Hannah Lang in New York; Editing by Mark Porter)