Swiss watchdog to probe Julius Baer employees on money-laundering oversight
02 Mar 2020

Switzerland’s financial watchdog will probe the actions of individuals at Julius Baer after it reprimanded the bank for ignoring money-laundering risks in payments linked to corruption in Venezuela and world soccer body FIFA.

FINMA Chief Executive Mark Branson said the regulator would look at the behaviour of individuals at the Swiss private bank, with employment bans among the possible punishments for those found to have breached regulations.

In a highly critical report last week, FINMA said there had been scores of failings at Switzerland’s third-largest listed bank, such as its acceptance of a 70 million Swiss franc ($71 million) transfer for a Venezuelan customer in 2014 despite knowing he was accused of corruption.

FINMA declined to comment on specific individuals or give a time-scale for how long its investigation may last.

“We will now address questions about the responsibility of individuals in a second step,” Branson told the Aargauer Zeitung newspaper in an interview on Wednesday.

“If we identify serious violations of supervisory law, let’s see if there are members of management who bear direct causal responsibility for these errors.”

Julius Baer declined to comment on the investigation.

The shortfalls in combating money laundering identified by FINMA happened between 2009 and 2018, largely during Boris Collardi’s tenure as chief executive. Collardi, who has since left to join non-listed Pictet, declined to comment.

By John Revill, Reuters, 26 February 2020

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