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Julius Baer plans second pay-out to USA for role in FIFA scandal

By Dan Byrne

Swiss bank Julius Baer will possibly pay a multi-million-dollar settlement to the US Department of Justice for its role in the long-running FIFA money laundering case.

In a statement published Wednesday, the bank said it will propose a payment “of a double-digit million US dollar amount” to its board of directors later this year.

This will complement another payment approved by the board in May as part of the final settlement. It was originally split in two because of COVID-19 complications, the bank said.  

The bank has been under investigation for its part in the large-scale FIFA corruption scandal – ongoing since 2015 – as well as a further scandal involving Venezuelan oil company PDVSA.

Former employee Jorge Luis Arzuaga had pleaded guilty in the US to facilitating payments to FIFA officials from sports marketing company. Another had pleaded guilty in 2018 to laundering PDVSA funds.

The bank says it is in what it describes as ‘advanced’ discussions with the US Department of Justice to finally put the FIFA issue to rest. It stressed that “Julius Baer has been cooperating [with the investigation] since 2015.”

Earlier this year, Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) began closure and enforcement procedures against the bank as part of a wider reprimand for falling “significantly short in combatting money laundering between 2009 and 2018.”

At the time, FINMA told the bank to alter its recruitment policy, take effective measures to combat money laundering, and have its board give greater attention to AML responsibilities.

The board is expected to make a final decision on the second dividend payment in November.

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