GLOBAL ASIA ENERGY JPMorgan Investigated by DoJ over possible energy market manipulation
JPMorgan faces further litigation after it emerged that the US Department of Justice is investigating whether the bank manipulated US energy markets.
The Wall Street giant has already agreed to pay $410m to settle a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) probe into allegations that it manipulated energy markets in California and the Midwest. The bank did not admit nor deny wrongdoing as part of the settlement, which was agreed last month.
The US bank hoped that would draw a line under the matter. However, the DoJ decided to weigh into the issue at around the same time as JP Morgan and FERC were thrashing out the final details of the settlement, according to reports.
The new investigation is being overseen by US attorney Preet Bharara, who is known for taking a tough stance on Wall Street wrongdoing.
Mr Bharara has also been leading a DoJ probe into the so-called “London Whale” scandal, which cost the bank more than $6bn last year. The DoJ brought criminal charges against two JP Morgan traders – Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout - earlier this month as a result of that probe. It has yet to mete out its punishment against the bank itself.
However, the DoJ is not the only regulator piling pressure on the firm, which ranks as biggest bank in the world by assets. It is facing at least six different probes from different regulators and law enforcers, according to company filings. JP Morgan has warned that it could be forced to pay up to $6.8bn in legal costs and fines if all the cases go against it.
America’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating claims that JP Morgan gave jobs to the children of influential people in order to help the bank win business.
The company allegedly hired Xiaoning Tang, the son of Shuangning Tang, a former Chinese banking regulator who is now chairman of the state-run financial firm, Everbright Group. JP Morgan secured several key deals from Everbright soon after Xiaoning Tang joined the firm, including advising one of its subsidiaries on a stock offering.
JP Morgan is also under federal criminal investigation for the way it sold mortgage-backed bonds, following a DoJ probe into the same issue, which found that the bank had broken civil laws.
JP Morgan declined to comment on the latest DoJ investigation but a spokesman said it was “working hard” to “strengthen business practices and address regulatory concerns”.