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Club president jailed for embezzlement

Hafen used some of the funds to pay for new players

(Keystone)

A former banker and ex-president of Wil football club has been jailed for five years for embezzling SFr51 million ($40 million) from the UBS bank.

The district court in St Gallen found Andreas Hafen guilty of fraud and falsifying documents.

Issuing its judgment on Friday, the court said 43-year-old Hafen must pay back all the money to UBS.

His defence team had called for a conditional jail term of 18 months and an acquittal on the count of fraud. They argued that the bank’s internal control mechanisms were not adequate.

Confession

Hafen was arrested in November 2002 on suspicion of embezzling funds to prop up his football club. He spent two weeks in detention and confessed to the crime.

The former customer advisor at UBS siphoned off the money over a ten-year period from 1991 to 2002. Around SFr11 million is believed to have found its way into the club funds, with SFr38 million going to other companies he advised.

Hafen was president of Wil football club for four years, during which time the side played in the top league. He said he had pumped money into the club to finance player transfers.

Hafen is thought to have kept the remaining SFr1.45 million for himself. He apparently used it to fund a lavish lifestyle.

"He abused his position for criminal purposes and to sabotage the security systems that were in place," UBS spokesman Rudolf Bürgin told swissinfo in 2002.

Bürgin said Hafen had used a variety of methods to embezzle the funds. One was to open fictitious accounts, and then authorise loans to the holders of these accounts.

Hafen had been at liberty since his release from detention in November 2002.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Hafen was found guilty of embezzling SFr51 million.
He used SFr11 million to finance player transfers to FC Wil.
The former banker diverted SFr38 million to bank clients.
He kept SFr1.45 million for himself.
The court ruled he must pay back all the money.

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