A Swiss bank has admitted to laundering $36 million in bribes paid to soccer officials.
After admitting to laundering over $36 million in bribes paid to international soccer authorities on Thursday, a Swiss bank agreed to pay $79.7 million in penalties.
According to the Department of Justice, Bank Julius Baer, Switzerland’s third largest bank, will pay a $43.3 million fine and forfeit another $36.4 million for performing the transactions between February 2013 and May 2015. (DOJ). The accord with federal prosecutors is part of a deferred prosecution arrangement.
The bank willfully laundered money via the United States, according to the DOJ, “to conceal the true source of the payments and promote the fraud.” Sports marketers paid bribes to officials from FIFA, the world soccer governing organization, and CONMEBOL, the South American soccer governing organization, in return for the rights to broadcast soccer matches.
In a statement, William F. Sweeney Jr., assistant director-in-charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office, said, “Bank Julius Baer chased the profit it might earn laundering illicit monies originating from a criminal conspiracy conducted by prominent FIFA executives.” “Their actions have earned them a red card, and the bank now owes the US government more than double the amount of money it admits to laundering.”
“Bank Julius Baer aided corrupt FIFA officials in laundering approximately $36 million,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Korner. “Banking officials who operate as a conduit for illicit activities jeopardize their own profession and the financial system’s health.”
According to Reuters, Bank Julius Baer had been working with the DOJ investigation since 2015 and had struck a deal to pay the nearly $80 million in November. Due to prosecutors granting the bank “some credit for its strong effort to fix its compliance program,” the settlement amount is reduced by 5% from what would have been normal under federal rules.
Jorge Luis Arzuaga, a former Julius Baer banker, pled guilty to related conspiracy charges in June 2017 and was sentenced to three years probation by US District Judge Pamela K. Chen in November 2020. Chen also presided over the session on Thursday.
FINMA, the Swiss banking regulator, has also fined Bank Julius Baer for failing to sufficiently prevent money laundering in a transaction with Venezuela’s state-owned oil company. This is a condensed version of the information.