New York (AFP)
Swiss bank Julius Baer has admitted to participating in the money laundering of $ 36 million in bribes in the “FIFAgate” television broadcasting rights scandal, US officials said Thursday.
The bank admitted in federal court that it conspired to launder funds via the United States to officials of FIFA and football federations in the Americas.
“Their behavior has earned them the equivalent of a red card, and the money the bank now owes the US government is more than double what it admits laundering,” said William F. Sweeney Jr, deputy director. from the FBI in a statement. .
It was the latest twist in the scandal that rocked the international football institution, forcing longtime boss Sepp Blatter to resign in 2015.
The legal saga began with the arrests in May 2015, and involves a “racketeering” by officials of the two continental federations of the Americas, CONMEBOL and CONCACAF, in exchange for the rights to broadcast continental competitions.
Julius Baer admitted the wrongdoing and entered into a three-year deferred prosecution agreement with US authorities. As part of the deal, the bank agreed to pay more than $ 79 million in penalties, including a fine of $ 43.3 million, the Justice Department statement said.
Jorge Luis Arzuaga, who worked at the bank’s offices in Montevideo, Uruguay, and Zurich, Switzerland, pleaded guilty in June 2017 to his role in the conspiracy.
Arzuaga conspired with sports marketing officials – including Alejandro Burzaco, the executive of Torneos y Competencias SA (Torneos), an Argentina-based sports media and marketing company – to channel bribes to sports officials. FIFA. Burzaco pleaded guilty in November 2015 for his role.
“If Arzuaga’s supervisors or compliance staff had significantly reviewed Arzuaga’s due diligence on Torneos and its responses to transaction alerts, they would have known that there were many important red flags,” indicates the press release.
The bank “knew that Arzuaga’s clients’ accounts were associated with international football, which was generally considered to involve high corruption risks.”
The bank welcomed the agreement with the US authorities.
“This marks a further step in Julius Baer’s continued efforts to pursue the closure of the remaining regulatory and legal issues in cooperation with the relevant authorities,” the bank said in a statement.
US courts also sentenced Paraguayan Juan Angel Napout to nine years in prison and Brazilian José Maria Marin to four years. Cayman Islander Jeffrey Webb, former head of the Confederation of North America, Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF), pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $ 6.7 million. He awaits the conviction.
© 2021 AFP