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Ex-banker pleads guilty to US charge in FIFA probe

Posted June 15

— A former banker pleaded guilty to a U.S. charge Thursday in the sprawling investigation linked to FIFA, the international soccer governing body.

Jorge Arzuaga, 56, an Argentine who worked at Credit Suisse Group AG and Julius Baer Group Ltd., pleaded guilty in a federal court in New York to participating in an international money laundering conspiracy.

He admitted to opening fraudulent bank accounts used to transfer bribes to soccer officials in exchange for kickbacks.

"I deeply regret what I did," Arzuaga told the judge.

The U.S. investigation of corruption linked to FIFA has indicted or taken guilty pleas from more than 40 people and marketing agencies linked to soccer in the Americas since 2015. Many of the charges involve bribes paid around the organization of regional tournaments and World Cup qualifying games.

Prosecutors in Switzerland have also been investigating. FIFA has also conducted internal investigations of corruption and self-dealing that led it to ban its former president, Sepp Blatter, and longtime secretary general, Jerome Valcke.

Credit Suisse and Julius Baer are among banks in Switzerland to acknowledge they've been helping prosecutors.

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