The ex-JPMorgan Chase trader nicknamed “the London Whale” for his huge derivatives losses has reached a deal to avoid US prosecution, a source familiar with the situation said Tuesday.
Bruno Iksil, who along with others has been blamed for big bets that resulted in a US$6.2 billion loss for the bank last year, reached the deal after agreeing to testify in the case, according to the source.
But criminal indictments against two other ex-JPMorgan traders could come later this week in the case, with regulators focused on whether some in the bank sought to cover up the extent of the losses.
Iksil, a French citizen, cooperated with prosectors who determined after reviewing email correspondence and other evidence not to prosecute him, the source told AFP.
Iksil also is not expected to be named in civil charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the source said.
JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon and other company brass have apologised for the London whale debacle, depicting it as a major blunder that resulted from poor strategy and execution.
But US prosecutors have been probing whether some London officials within JPMorgan understated the losses as they were mounting, misleading senior company officials in New York.
Two other former JPMorgan employees, Julien Grout, who worked under Iksil reporting on the trades, and Javier Martin-Artajo, who was the head of the trading team, have been named in recent days in the US press as facing likely criminal indictment as soon as this week.
All three men worked together at JPMorgan in London.
Indictments against Grout and Martin-Artajo could come as soon as Wednesday, with the timing partly depending on whether they are now in countries where extradition is possible, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Grout, also a French citizen now residing in his home country, has not received a warrant for his arrest, his attorney Edward Little told AFP.
Grout has “no need to collabourate” with US authorities on the probe, Little said. “He’s done nothing wrong.”
Martin-Artajo, a native of Spain residing in London, is now on a “long planned vacation,” his law firm Norton Rose Fulbright said on his behalf.
Martin-Artajo has cooperated with UK regulatory inquiries and has received no communication from “any government regulators” that indicate “he should not be on vacation at this time,” said a statement released by the firm.
“Mr. Martin-Artajo is confident that when a complete and fair reconstruction of these complex events is completed, he will be cleared of any wrongdoing,” the statement said.
JPMorgan fired Iksil and Martin-Artajo in the aftermath of the whale, while Ina Drew, who led the chief investment office where the ill-conceived trades were launched, also stepped down.
JPMorgan slashed Dimon’s last year compensation package by 50 per cent and overhauled its risk management practices. Still, Dimon had to beat back a shareholder challenge this spring that sought to strip him of his chairmanship at the bank, the nation’s largest by revenue.
The SEC has launched a civil probe of the bank’s actions, including its disclosures to investors and the bank’s internal controls.
The two sides are in talks for a possible settlement this fall, according to reports. The agency is pressing for an admission of wrongdoing in the case, part of new SEC Chairman Mary Jo White’s efforts to toughen oversight of misconduct, the reports said.