Private banking group Julius Baer Venezuela is in negotiations with Spanish lender Banco Santander to transfer its book of clients, Reuters has reported.

The deal would reportedly be a referral agreement, enabling Santander to gain access to the clients of the Swiss bank.

It would not result in migration of portfolio or assets, the publication said.

Reuters earlier reported that the Spanish lender was in talks to acquire certain clients of Julius Baer in Venezuela.

The talks, if materialised, would enable Santander to relaunch in Venezuela. The bank ended operations in the country nine years ago after offloading its Banco de Venezuela holding to the government for €1.05bn.

Lately, Julius Baer’s Latin America business has been under the scrutiny for the involvement of its former-employee, Matthias Krull, in a $1.2bn money laundering case connected to Venezuelan state-owned oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela. However, the bank was not charged in the case.

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According to a report by Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung, the Swiss bank closed ties with clients in Venezuela having assets below $1.5m.

Around two months ago, Julius Baer announced plans to withdraw from Panama and Peru after a strategic review of its Latin American operations. Instead, the bank now plans to focus on Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.