ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss private bank Julius Baer is in talks about transferring its Venezuelan book of business to Spain's Banco Santander as Baer reorganises operations in Latin America, sources close to the situation have told Reuters.
A source familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified, said on Saturday that talks with Santander over Baer's Venezuelan book of business were under way but had not yet been concluded.
A third source said a potential deal would not involve the transfer of any portfolio or assets, but rather come as referral agreement where the Spanish bank could access Baer's clients.
Switzerland's Neue Zuercher Zeitung newspaper reported on Saturday that Baer had ended ties in April with hundreds of clients in Venezuela with less than $1.5 million each in assets, and that the remaining clients there had more than $20 million each in assets.
Matthias Krull, a former Julius Baer Panama vice-chairman, was sentenced to 10 years in U.S. prison in October after pleading guilty for his role in a billion-dollar scheme to launder money embezzled from Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.
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(Reporting by Michael Shields in Zurich and Jesus Aguado Gonzalez and Carlos Ruano in Madrid)
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