KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The Swiss private bank Julius Baer has agreed to pay €65m to the United States courts to settle a case brought over its own money-laundering role in the FIFAGate scanda;.
The bank admitted in a New York court to have participated in the laundering, via the United States, of more than €30m ($36m) intended for directors and officials of world football’s governing body and other federations in a scheme in which sports marketing companies bribed officials to obtain TV rights to major competitions.
In June 2017 Argentinian Jorge Arzuaga, who has been declared a rogue ‘lone wolf’ by Julius Baer, admitted charges arising out of the United States Department of Justice’s FIFAGate investigation.
Arzuaga said he set up accounts used for bribes at the banks where he worked, which included Credit Suisse and a third, unnamed, financial operator.
Recipients of the bribes he channelled into various accounts included Julio Grondona, former president of the Argentinian federation and who was senior vice-president of world federation FIFA and its finance committee chairman at the time of his death in the summer of 2014.
He also set up accounts so Alejandro Burzaco, former ceo of Argentinian sports marketing giant TyC, could divert $25m in bribes to officials including Grondona. Arzuaga said that he also set up payments to Grondona’s heirs.
Arzuaga had opened disguised accounts because Grondona’s own dubious reputation would have made it “extremely difficult” for him to open any in the US in his own name.
In return Arzuaga received bonuses from TyC, including payments of $200,000 and $450,000.
Julius Baer said at the time that it “parted in 2015 with” an employee who admitted violating “applicable law and internal policies.” It claimed no-one at the bank had been aware of the employee’s misconduct.