Article: Bank Julius Baer Agrees to Pay More than $79 Million for Laundering Money in FIFA Scandal

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Bank Julius Baer Agrees to Pay More than $79 Million for Laundering Money in FIFA Scandal

Department of Justice, 27 May 2021

Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd. (BJB or the Bank), a Swiss bank with international operations, has admitted today in federal court in Brooklyn that it conspired to launder over $36 million in bribes through the United States to soccer officials with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and other soccer federations, in furtherance of a scheme in which sports marketing companies bribed soccer officials in exchange for broadcasting rights to soccer matches. The proceeding was held before U.S. District Judge Pamela K. Chen.

The Bank made these admissions and entered into a three-year deferred prosecution agreement with the department in connection with a criminal information filed today in the Eastern District of New York charging the Bank with conspiring to commit money laundering. As part of this agreement, the Bank has agreed to pay more than $79 million in penalties (including a fine of $43,320,000 and forfeiture of $36,368,400) to resolve the investigation into its involvement in a money laundering conspiracy that fueled this international soccer bribery scheme.

Jorge Luis Arzuaga, a former BJB relationship manager who worked in the Bank’s Montevideo, Uruguay, and Zurich, Switzerland, offices pleaded guilty in June 2017 for his role in this conspiracy and was sentenced in November 2020. That case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Pamela K. Chen of the Eastern District of New York, as is this case.

“Today’s resolution sends a strong message to all banks and other financial institutions that if they knowingly misuse our financial system to hide their clients’ criminal proceeds or to promote a corrupt scheme, they will be held to account,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “From the time of the first FIFA-related indictment, the department has promised to hold accountable the financial institutions involved in this global criminal scheme. We are delivering on that promise.”

“BJB and its employees facilitated bribes and its compliance department turned a blind eye to glaring red flags of money laundering,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Mark J. Lesko for the Eastern District of New York. “This office will hold accountable those corporations or individuals that use the American banking system for corrupt ends. As today’s resolution makes clear, financial institutions that become complicit in their clients’ efforts to launder illicit funds face significant penalties.”

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