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US to investigate market irregularities at JP Morgan Chase

September 2013

New inquiries are now being conducted by the Department of Justice, the US criminal investigation agency, into allegations that JPMorgan Chase manipulated energy markets.

JPMorgan Chase, ranked as the world’s biggest bank by assets, has already agreed to pay $410m (£262m, €306m) to settle a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission investigation into the allegations.

The bank had been accused of market manipulation in California and the Midwest to obtain tens of millions of dollars in overpayments from energy grid operators. However, it paid the settlement without admitting or denying any wrongdoing.

The Department of Justice investigation is being conducted by US attorney Preet Bharara, known for getting tough with Wall Street offenders.

Bharara leads another action under which two JPMorgan Chase traders at the bank’s London investment office have been charged with fraud. This case cost the bank more than $6bn last year.

Altogether the bank faces six investigations by regulators.

A recent accusation is that in China it gained government-related contracts by giving jobs to the son of a former banking regulator who now chairs a state-run finance company and the daughter of a now disgraced railway official. The Securities and Exchange Commission is examining the evidence.

JPMorgan Chase fears it will face a bill of nearly $7bn in legal costs and fines if all the cases are proved.

It has declined to comment on the latest Department of Justice investigation, announcing only that it is striving to “strengthen business practices and address regulatory concerns”.

JPMorgan Chase | North America | Reputational Risk


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