— Published 28 May 2021

A big cheque to lift the lawsuit


The case is perplexing. The U.S. Department of Justice announced in a statement on Thursday, May 27th, that it had dropped the charges related to the FIFA corruption scandal. The facts date back to May 2015, when American justice had charged 14 people, including 9 FIFA executives, as part of a vast investigation conducted for several months. The arrests took place in the early hours of the morning in a large hotel in Zurich. The episode became known as Fifagate. Back then, the Swiss wealth management bank Julius Bär was repeatedly cited as one of the financial institutions used to make fraudulent money transfers. One of its former bankers, Jorge Luis Arzuaga, even pleaded guilty in 2017. He admitted to opening accounts in the name of shell companies and facilitating the payment of bribes to officials of the Argentine Football Federation. The financial institution admitted in a New York court that it had been involved in laundering more than $36 million through the United States to officials of FIFA and other federations. Since Thursday, May 27th, however, American proceedings have been dropped. The Swiss bank agreed to pay nearly $80 million to end the long-running case. It paid a $43.32 million fine and a $36.37 million payout, the total amount of bribes that passed through its accounts. According to a statement from the bank, the dismissal of the US case “marks another step in Julius Bär’s ongoing efforts to resolve outstanding regulatory and legal proceedings in cooperation with the relevant authorities.”