Actions of some employees of Julius Baer are set to be investigated by the Switzerland Financial watchdog for ignoring money laundering risks in payments linked to corruption in Venezuela and world soccer body FIFA. This was disclosed by the Chief Executive of FINMA, Mark Branson. While declining to be specific on individuals involved, FINMA said the Swiss’ third-largest listed bank has erred in many ways including its acceptance of a 70 million Swiss franc ($71 million) transfer for a Venezuelan customer in 2014 despite knowing he was accused of corruption. L8N2AK688. Julius Baer declined to comment on the investigation on the allegations of shortfalls in combating money laundering identified by FINMA between their transactions in 2009 and 2018.
Last week, FINMA told the bank to improve its controls and appointed an auditor to oversee the group. Still, it did not make use of its power to demand the return of profits linked to wrongdoing. FINMA has no powers to fine or imprison people but can ban individuals from working in the Swiss financial sector. It is on record that FINMA has banned 56 people, with the measure proving “effective, even preventive”, Branson said.