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Montevideo, May 31st 2023 - 16:21 UTC



Swiss bank discloses details of laundering deals involving South America's football officials

Saturday, May 29th 2021 - 09:22 UTC
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The Swiss bank Julius Bär admitted to having laundered that money for Grondona and his family The Swiss bank Julius Bär admitted to having laundered that money for Grondona and his family

A Swiss bank Friday admitted before a Federal Court in New York it had laundered around 25 million US dollars for the late Argentine Football Association President and FIFA Vice President Julio Humberto Grondona and his family, it was reported.

The Swiss bank Julius Bär admitted to having laundered that money “from the payment of bribes he received in exchange for the television rights of 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2030 World Cups, as well as other tournaments”.

The entity also admitted to having carried out laundering operations in Switzerland and the United States for three heirs of Grondona's.

The bank released this information as a part of an agreement with the US Department of Justice in the case known as FIFAgate for which numerous international football officials have been prosecuted, but which Grondona himself avoided through a timely death on April 30, 2014.

The bank has acknowledged it served as a channel for the laundering of millions of dollars destined for the then South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) President Ricardo Teixeira and Treasurer Sergio Jadue, heads of their national respective associations in Brazil and Chile.

The bank has agreed to pay around US $ 79.6 million, between a fine and forfeiture, and to undergo a control and audit process over the next three years.

Julius Baer also explained that Argentine TV executive Alejandro Burzaco and some of his colleagues of Torneos y Competencias SA created two front companies (FPT Sports SA and Arco Business and Developments Ltd) with which they opened accounts and subaccounts in Switzerland through which they paid Grondona about US $the 30 million for the television rights to the World Cups. Of those funds, US $ 25 million were transferred to a subaccount of FPT Sports.

“The purpose of placing the funds in a subaccount, instead of in the main account was to hide the funds, while allowing Torneos... to receive bank statements to confirm that payments had been done”.

In the documents presented before the court, Grondona is referred to as “Soccer Official No. 1,” although substantial additional evidence made it possible for investigators to conclusively identify him, including the fact that he was head of AFA and had three heirs.

The bank also admitted that Grondona had issued specific instructions on how to invest the funds deposited in that subaccount and that after his death, in November of 2014, more than US $ 16.5 had been transferred to another account in the same under the name of one of his heirs.

In early 2015, the bank transferred another $ 8 million through a correspondent account in New York to another account in another Swiss bank for Grondona's second heir. And by then the bank was already doing business with his third heir to open another account at the bank and approve the deposit of three FIFA checks.

The financial entity also admitted to having channelled TV rights bribe money from the América, Libertadores and Sudamericana cups (all Conmebol competitions) for various executives of continental soccer, namely Eugenio Figueredo, president of Conmebol and the Uruguayan Football Association; Nicolás Leoz, president of Conmebol and the Paraguayan Football Association; Marco Polo del Nero and José María Marín of the Brazilian Football Confederation; Romer Osuna, Bolivia's FIFA delegate and treasurer of Conmebol, and Sergio Jadue, vice president of Conmebol and president of the National Professional Soccer Association of Chile.

Argentine businessmen Hugo and Mariano Jinkis were also singled out for their involvement in these types of transactions. They are both at large in Argentina after the late Judge Claudio Bonadío rejected in 2016 a request to extradite them to the United States.

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