September 25, 2013

JPMorgan Chase offers Justice Department a $3 billion settlement

JPMorgan Chase has offered to pay about $3 billion to settle an array of pending Justice Department probes, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing a person familiar with the discussions.

The Justice Department argued JPMorgan would need to pay billions above the $3 billion offer to settle the cases, according to the person.

The newspaper, citing people familiar with the matter, said that JPMorgan, the biggest US bank by assets, and the Justice Department had expanded the settlement talks to include an array of cases.

It said it was unclear which of the more than half a dozen open Justice Department investigations into JPMorgan’s conduct would be resolved by such an agreement.

The talks are “very fluid” and an agreement “far from certain,” people close to the situation told the Journal.

A spokesman for JPMorgan declined comment. The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

JPMorgan faces a range of pending civil and criminal probes, including on its sale of mortgage-backed securities before the financial crisis and its hiring of the relatives of top Chinese officials.

Federal prosecutors in New York have launched criminal probes of JPMorgan’s handling of the “London whale” trading debacle and its trading activity in the US electricity market. These two criminal probes would not be covered by the current deal being discussed, the Journal said.

Last week, JPMorgan agreed to pay $920 million in fines to US and British regulators over the “London whale” debacle.

The bank in July agreed to pay $410 million to settle US civil charges that it manipulated power prices in California and the Midwest.


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