Former Julius Baer’s advisor jail sentence reduced in $ 1.2 billion Venezuela fraud case
Julius Baer’s former private banker Matthias Krull, who pleaded guilty to involvement in a $ 1.2 billion embezzlement plan targeting Venezuelan oil giant Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), has been sentenced to 10 years in prison reduced to 42 months after cooperating with US authorities.
Matthias Krull, a German citizen, was arrested in Miami in July 2018 for his connection to the scheme, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering in April and was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a South Florida federal judge in October 2018.
Now he has seen his sentence reduced by 65% by a South Florida federal judge after his cooperation helped prosecutors secure two more guilty pleas in the case, according to recently unsealed court documents.
Krull, who has been under house arrest in Florida since posting a $ 5 million bond following his arrest, is due to surrender to authorities to begin his jail term on July 2.
The former private banker previously worked for Julius Baer in his now closed Panama office, but a month before his arrest he had left the company to join fellow Swiss private bank Gonet & Cie to work in its Bahamas operations in June. 2018.
He was the first of eight people to be charged in the case involving “accomplice” fund managers, brokerage firms, banks and real estate investment firms in the United States and abroad which operated as a “network of professional money launderers”, according to prosecutors. .
The scheme began in late December 2014 and, over the next two years, involved the embezzlement of $ 1.2 billion from PDVA through an elaborate foreign exchange scheme involving bogus loans and joint ventures, according to documents. judicial.
Krull admitted to joining the plot in 2016 after being contacted to help launder the proceeds of the scheme while he was a private banker at Julius Baer. He said he and others used Miami real estate and “sophisticated” bogus investment plans to launder money stolen from PDVSA.
“Krull knew he was part of an illegal money laundering conspiracy and that the funds he was trying to conceal and use were the product of criminal activity and corruption in particular,” according to court documents dating from ‘August 2018.
Alongside Krull, Gustavo Adolfo Hernandez Frieri, arrested in July 2018 in Sicily, Italy, also pleaded guilty to his involvement in the case. Hernandez Frieri allegedly set up bogus investments to launder PDVSA funds and use Miami-based companies Global Security Advisors and Global Strategic Investments where he was a board member, prosecutors said.
Abraham Edgardo Ortega, the former chief financial officer of PDVSA who allegedly worked with Hernandez Frieri to launder the money, also pleaded guilty to his involvement in the $ 1.2 billion scheme in 2018.
One of the former clients of Krull’s private bank has also been charged in the case. Francisco Convit Guruceaga, who prosecutors described as a member of Venezuela’s well-to-do elite, was charged with money laundering in August 2018.
According to reports, the remaining defendants are not yet in custody in the United States.
Krull’s lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.