Swiss convict ex-banker in soccer corruption case

Swiss and American prosecutors worked together on a guilty plea made in a Brooklyn federal courthouse on Thursday by Jorge Arzuaga, a former employee of Swiss private banks from Argentina.

News agency "Reuters" reports that Arzuaga, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen in the Brooklyn borough of NY as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

"By facilitating the flow of bribe money through the Swiss and American banking systems", Acting Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde said Arzuaga "provided a critical service to those involved in corruption in worldwide soccer".

That president, who died in 2014, is indentified in court papers only as Soccer Official #1, and Arzuaga arranged for those funds to be distributed to his heirs after his death.

Acting US attorney Bridget Rohde said on Thursday: "By facilitating the flow of bribe money through the Swiss and American banking systems, the defendant provided a critical service to those involved in corruption in global soccer". According to the information, Arzuaga furthered the bribery conspiracy in a variety of ways, including by opening a bank account in the name of a shell company ostensibly established on behalf of the Sports Marketing Company, when, in fact, the true beneficial owner of this account was a high-ranking soccer official.

Arzuaga is one of more than 40 people and entities charged in the US probe, in which prosecutors say soccer officials took more than $200 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for marketing and broadcast rights. In exchange for his assistance in facilitating the payment of these bribes, the information states that Arzuaga received approximately $1,046,000 in bonus payments.

Arzuaga will now forfeit just over a million dollars ($A1.3) to authorities in connection with his plea, the US Attorney's Office said.

Arzuaga was released on bail after his plea hearing.

Arzuaga was freed on $1.5 million bond.

"The summary penalty order in Switzerland is part of a process co-ordinated between the responsible American prosecution authority and the OAG in order to conclude proceedings at the same time".

Credit Suisse and Julius Baer could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.

Credit Suisse and Julius Baer had both previously acknowledged that they have been cooperating with prosecutors on the investigations.

A spokesman for the bank told Reuters last week that it was cooperating in the Federation Internationale de Football Association investigation, and said there was no indication that the investigation would affect the 2016 agreement.

  • Leroy Wright