NEW YORK: A senior Swiss banker has admitted to a United States court that he channelled bribes to senior figures in football in the Americas and in FIFA.
Argentinian Jorge Arzuaga, who has been declared a rogue ‘lone wolf’ by Swiss private bank Julius Baer, was detained in late 2015 and has since been detailing his role and work to US investigators and will be sentenced early next year.
The Office of the Swiss Attorney-General has also published details of its own action against an unnamed individual identifiable as Arzuaga.
Recipients of the bribes 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.
Arzuaga has said he set up accounts used for bribes at the banks where he worked, which included Credit Suisse and a third, unnamed, financial operator.
Among others, he set up accounts so Alejandro Burzaco, former ceo of Argentinian sports marketing giant TyC, could divert $25m in bribes to officials including Grondona. Burzaco has already pleaded guilty to his own involvement. Arzuaga said that he also set up payments to Grondona’s heirs.
He had opened disguised accounts because Grondona’s bleak reputation would have made it “extremely difficult” to open in the veteran official’s own name.
In return Arzuaga received bonuses from TyC, including payments of $200,000 and $450,000.
Ahead of eventual sentence next January 4 he has already agreed to forfeit $1m.
Julius Baer, which was already in trouble with the US authorities, has it “parted with” an employee in 2015 who admitted violating “applicable law and internal policies.” It claimed no-one at the bank had been aware of the employee’s misconduct.
A statement today from the Office of the Swiss Attorney-General said that a banker, clearly Arzuaga, had been found guilty of fraud in proceedings run alongside the US action “coordinated to end at the same time.”