Money-laundering through FIFA bribery scheme leads to penalties of over $30 million for Israel’s Bank Hapoalim

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Israel’s internationally operating Bank Hapoalim BM (BHBM) and its subsidiary, Hapoalim (Switzerland) Ltd. (BHS), will forfeit around $21 million and pay over $9 million in fines for their involvement in a money-laundering conspiracy.  This announcement came jointly from the US Department of Justice, the FBI and the IRS. The banks conspired to launder over $20 million through bribes to soccer officials at federations including Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

BHBM and BHS staff conspired with sports marketing executives to give bribes and kickbacks to soccer officials. The officials, in turn, allowed the marketing executives the broadcasting rights for soccer matches and tournaments. Bank executives allowed the money-laundering activities despite some employees reporting suspicious payments. They misused the US financial system for their operations for over five years.

The banks allowed money-laundering through their Miami branch, with bribes and illegal payments being transferred to Luis Bedoya’s accounts. Budeya has previously served as the president of the Federación Colombiana de Futbol and a member of FIFA’s executive committee. Interestingly, he admitted to his involvement in a racketeering and wire fraud conspiracy in November 2015.