Julius Baer battles Fifa corruption fallout as ex-banker set to plead guilty

Bank says ex-employee acted alone when he allegedly helped funnel bribery payments

 The former Julius Baer banker is expected to plead guilty over his role in the corruption related to Fifa. Photograph: Valentin Flauraud

The former Julius Baer banker is expected to plead guilty over his role in the corruption related to Fifa. Photograph: Valentin Flauraud

 

Julius Baer executives have told US prosecutors that a former employee acted alone when he allegedly helped funnel kickbacks and bribery payments to a soccer official in the Americas.

The former banker, Argentine Jorge Arzuaga, is expected to plead guilty over his role in the corruption related to Fifa, the governing body for soccer, one of the people said.

A lawyer for Mr Arzuaga declined to comment, while Mr Arzuaga did not respond to requests for comment. The US Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, which is prosecuting the Fifa case, also declined to comment.

Arrested

More than two years after Fifa officials were arrested at a five-star Zurich hotel, Julius Baer is trying to minimise the fallout over its connection to the scandal as it wants to ensure that a deferred prosecution agreement is not jeopardised.

A spokesman for Julius Baer said it fired an employee in 2015 “after he had admitted having violated applicable laws and internal policies”.

But the employee, who sources told Reuters was Mr Arzuaga, “never told anyone at the bank that any account was being used as a conduit for bribes and that indeed he denied having such knowledge”, the spokesman added.

– (Reuters)