JPMorgan said to near $2 billion settlement of Madoff probes

  • Article by: DAWN KOPECKI and KERI GEIGER , Bloomberg News
  • Updated: December 12, 2013 - 8:06 PM

A tentative agreement with the Justice Department would include a deal for deferred prosecution, sources said.

The bank also assented to a deferred-prosecution agreement, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private. In such deals, the government agrees not to prosecute for a specified period and charges are dismissed if the entity improves its programs and complies with the law. The talks are in their final stages and the accord could be announced before year-end, the person said.

Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, 57, is seeking to resolve government probes that have beset JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank, while overhauling internal controls to improve relations with regulators. Wall Street firms have spent years fighting off claims brought on behalf of Madoff’s victims, including accusations that the companies ignored the con man’s fraud to continue reaping fees.

The Office of Comptroller of the Currency, the bank’s primary regulator, and Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara have been investigating how New York-based JPMorgan handled funds controlled by Madoff, whose multibillion-dollar fraud was the biggest Ponzi scheme in the nation’s history. James Margolin, a Bharara spokesman, and the FBI’s Peter Donald declined to comment.

The OCC, which sanctioned the lender in January for violating the Bank Secrecy Act, plans to punish the company for BSA violations related to Madoff, according to another person briefed on the probe. The OCC also is likely to fine the bank for additional anti-money laundering violations, the person said.

The 1970 Bank Secrecy Act requires financial institutions to assist government agencies in detecting and preventing money laundering, such as reporting cash transactions exceeding $10,000.

Bloomberg News reported in October that a deferred-prosecution agreement was among options the U.S. had discussed with the bank. The New York Times reported on the tentative $2 billion accord late Wednesday. About half of the penalties will go toward resolving the Justice Department’s criminal case while the rest will be paid to federal bank regulators, the newspaper said, citing people briefed on the case.

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