18 November 2020
Financial crime specialists Rahman Ravelli examines the situation.
Julius Baer is to pay almost $80 million in fines to settle allegations relating to its role in corruption involving football’s world governing body FIFA.
The bank has announced that, in an agreement with the US Department of Justice (DoJ), it has allocated $79.7 million to cover expected fines after agreeing in principle to a three-year deferred prosecution agreement (DPA). It has said it expects the matter to be completely resolved shortly.
Julius Baer, which is Switzerland’s third-largest private bank, has said it has been cooperating with the DOJ for five years, as part of the agency’s investigation into alleged money laundering and corruption involving officials and affiliates of FIFA and associated sports media and marketing companies. The bank was criticised strongly earlier this year by Switzerland’s financial supervisor FINMA for ignoring money laundering risks associated with FIFA-linked payments.
The FIFA raids in 2015 by the DoJ that triggered these events were something of a surprise when they were carried out. Despite rumours of corruption on a grand scale at football’s governing body for many years, authorities appeared either unwilling or unable to pierce the seemingly impenetrable shroud that cloaked the activities inside and outside FIFA HQ.
While it is almost inevitable that more will become known over time regarding the true extent of what was taking place, the Julius Baer DPA does at least confirm a little more of what was suspected for so long. It lifts the lid a little higher on the secrecy that surrounded FIFA’s notorious previous president and a host of its officials.