Julius Baer to Settle for $80M in FIFA Corruption Scandal

Private Swiss bank, Julius Baer, has set aside $80M in an agreement to pay the U.S. Department of Justice for its involvement in a large FIFA corruption and money laundering operation.

Julius Baer FIFA corruptionPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

The $80 million payment is only one portion of the settlement with the DOJ that also includes a three-year deferred prosecution agreement. The lender plans to make provisions for the settlement amount in this year’s financial results.

“This will mark another step in Julius Baer management’s continued efforts to pursue the closure of remaining regulatory and legal matters in cooperation with the relevant authorities,” a representative for Baer said in a recent statement.

The government’s investigation dates back to 2015, and the bank claims it has cooperated since its inception. The Swiss FINMA, Financial Market Supervisory Authority, held its related regulatory proceedings into the alleged corruption, but officially concluded them in February of this year. FINMA previously banned Julius Baer from competing large acquisitions and forced it to appoint an independent auditor after finding “significant shortcomings” in its anti-money laundering safeguards. It also ordered Baer to bolster its anti-money laundering policies.

“Measures already taken include de-risking the business by re-documenting each one of the Bank’s client relationships and discontinuing certain individual relationships and operations,” the bank said Monday.

The settlement comes several years after a Baer banker was convicted for facilitating bribes to the president of the Argentinian soccer federation and others across the sports and media industry in 2017. That banker, Jorge Arzuaga, addressed the corruption in a statement, “In my previous life as a banker, I met a lot of powerful people. I even let myself into the mirage of what power is. But I was wrong.”

The FIFA corruption and money laundering scandal is wide-reaching, spanning across several countries and organizations, leading to continued litigation and fines for individuals and business entities involved.

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