Julius Bär in talks with US authorities to resolve FIFA allegations

The bank's reputation and standing have taken a hit in recent years as a series of corruption and money laundering scandals. Keystone/Ennio Leanza

Swiss bank Julius Bär says it may have to pay tens of millions of dollars to settle allegations by the United States over its role in a corruption affair concerning the world football body FIFA.

This content was published on September 16, 2020 - 12:18
swissinfo.ch with Reuters news agency/ug

Julius Bär said on Wednesday that it had been cooperating with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) since 2015 in its investigation of alleged money laundering and corruption involving officials and affiliates of FIFA and associated sports media and marketing companies.

“The bank is currently in advanced discussions with the DOJ about reaching a resolution in such matter, which may result in the payment of a double-digit million US dollar amount,” it said in a statement.

The affair dates back to era of former chief executive Boris Collardi, who is now at the Pictet private bank.

FIFA was embroiled in the worst corruption scandal in its history in 2015 which led to several officials being indicted in the US on corruption-related charges.

Julius Bär this year was reprimanded by Switzerland’s financial supervisor FINMA for ignoring money laundering risks of FIFA-linked payments, while an ex-banker was convicted in 2017 in US District Court of conspiracy charges for arranging payments from a sports marketing executive to the Argentine soccer association’s president.

The Swiss bank has already been sanctioned this year in relation to money laundering offences and it was also ordered pay CHF153 million ($169 million) to settle a claim that one of its subsidiaries pilfered money from Germany during the reunification of the country in the 1990s.

In its media statement, the Swiss wealth manager also said that it planned to propose the distribution of the second part of its 2019 dividend at an extraordinary shareholder meeting scheduled for November.

Julius Bär was among Swiss banks that proposed splitting its CHF1.5 ($1.7) per share dividend this year out of caution over the coronavirus’s impact on finances.

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