24 Feb 2020
Swiss bank Julius Baer has been reprimanded by the country’s watchdog for ignoring money laundering risks in handling millions of francs of suspect payments linked to corruption in Venezuela and world soccer body FIFA.
In a highly critical report, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA said there had been scores of failings at Switzerland’s third-largest bank, such as when it accepted a 70 million Swiss franc ($71 million) transfer for a Venezuelan customer in 2014 despite knowing he was accused of corruption.
The regulator’s announcement, which outlined serious lapses as recently as 2018, comes as Switzerland seeks to change its image as one of the globe’s most opaque and secretive financial centres.
FINMA told Julius Baer to improve its controls and appointed an auditor to oversee the group. Nonetheless, it did not make use of its power to demand the return of profits linked to the wrongdoing, meaning the bank faces no financial penalty.
By John O’Donnell, Reuters, 20 February 2020
Read more at Reuters
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