Julius Bär to pay $79.7 million in FIFA corruption settlement

The agreement includes a $43.3 million criminal fine and a $36.4 million forfeiture. Keystone / Steffen Schmidt

Swiss bank Julius Bär has agreed to pay $79.7 million (CHF71.5 million) in a settlement with the US Department of Justice after being implicated in a sprawling corruption probe surrounding FIFA, world football’s governing body.

This content was published on May 27, 2021 - 18:52

Julius Bär has entered a three-year deferred prosecution agreement to resolve accusations it engaged in a money-laundering conspiracy.

The agreement includes a $43.3 million criminal fine and a $36.4 million forfeiture. It was accepted by US District Judge Pamela Chen at a hearing in Brooklyn, New York.

Switzerland’s third-largest private bank has said it has cooperated with the Justice Department since 2015.

It has also said it has upgraded its compliance controls and dismissed some clients.

Football corruption

The Justice Department unveiled the FIFA probe in April 2015.

More than 40 defendants, including football and marketing executives, were charged and at least 30 have pleaded guilty.

In June 2017, former Julius Bär banker Jorge Arzuaga pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge for helping an Argentine sports marketing executive pay bribes to the president of Argentina’s football federation, who was a FIFA vice president. Arzuaga was sentenced in November to probation.

Swiss financial regulator FINMA has also imposed penalties for Julius Bär’s anti-money laundering shortfalls, ordering the bank to improve its controls and appoint an auditor. FINMA also reprimanded two former chief executives.

FINMA lifted a ban on Julius Bär making large acquisitions in March.

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