Published September 16, 2013
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is facing at least $700 million in fines related to the ‘London Whale’ trading scandal that has already cost the largest U.S. bank by assets more than $6 billion.
Sources on Monday confirmed to FOX Business that the fines are part of a settlement with regulators that will also include an admission of guilt by JPMorgan that bank officials did not properly manage the trading desk where the wrongdoing occurred.
New Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Jo White has pushed for admissions of guilt in civil cases filed by the securities regulator, a policy shift prompted by criticism that financial institutions often get off too easily after breaking securities laws.
The fines and settlement terms are expected to be announced later this week, possibly Wednesday.
Spokesmen for JPMorgan and the SEC declined to comment Monday.
The penalties come on the heels of criminal charges filed by the Justice Department in August against two former JPMorgan traders for their role in last year’s 'London Whale' debacle.
The government alleged in four-count indictments that Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout participated in a conspiracy to hide and misrepresent losses taken by the bank. The duo was charged with falsifying books and records, wire fraud, and false filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan who is overseeing the criminal case, has said the defendants “repeatedly and deliberately lied” to cover their losses.
The SEC filed a parallel civil complaint seeking to force the two to return any ill-gotten gains and pay civil penalties.
The cases stem from massive losses that occurred in early 2012 after a London-based JPMorgan trading desk made a series of large derivatives bets that soured. The losses have been the subject of intense scrutiny from regulators because the bets suggested that big Wall Street banks were still taking excessive risks even after the financial crisis of 2008.
Martin-Artajo and Grout allegedly took part in a conspiracy to hide their losses by "artificially" inflating the value of holdings tied to the derivatives bets that soured.
The conspiracy caused the New York-based bank to report incorrect quarterly results for the first quarter of 2012, the DOJ alleged.
The SEC said in its complaint against the two traders that it plans to hold the bank accountable for filing inaccurate financial statements.
JPMorgan’s shares rose 55 cents, or 1.05%, to $53.14 on Monday.