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Swiss bank Julius Baer to pay $79.7 million in FIFA corruption settlement

imageStock Markets24 minutes ago (May 27, 2021 02:27PM ET)

(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss private bank Julius Baer is seen at a branch office in Zurich, Switzerland February 1, 2021. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) -The Swiss bank Julius Baer has agreed to pay $79.7 million in a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice after being implicated in a sprawling corruption probe surrounding FIFA, the world’s soccer governing body.

Julius Baer entered a three-year deferred prosecution agreement to resolve accusations it engaged in a money laundering conspiracy.

It will pay a $43.3 million criminal fine and a $36.4 million forfeiture, and not face further punishment if it complies with the agreement’s terms.

The agreement was accepted by U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen in Brooklyn, New York, after Julius Baer’s general counsel pleaded not guilty on the bank’s behalf.

Julius Baer had previously set aside funds to cover the payout.

Switzerland’s third-largest listed bank has said it has cooperated with the Justice Department since 2015, upgraded its compliance controls and dismissed some clients.

The Justice Department unveiled the FIFA probe in April 2015.

More than 40 defendants, including soccer and marketing executives, were charged, and at least 30 have pleaded guilty.

In November, former Julius Baer banker Jorge Arzuaga was sentenced to three years probation after pleading guilty to a conspiracy charge.

Arzuaga had been accused of helping an Argentine sports marketing executive pay bribes to the president of Argentina’s soccer federation, who was a FIFA vice president.

The federation’s president at the time, Julio Grondona, died in 2014.

Swiss financial regulator FINMA has also imposed penalties for Julius Baer’s anti-money laundering shortfalls, ordering the bank to improve its controls and appoint an auditor, and reprimanding two former chief executives.

FINMA lifted a ban on Julius Baer making large acquisitions in March.

Swiss bank Julius Baer to pay $79.7 million in FIFA corruption settlement

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