US fines JPMorgan Chase record $920 million over market manipulation

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The logo for JPMorgan Chase & Co. appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Aug. 16, 2019. (AP Photo)
by French Press Agency – AFP

JPMorgan Chase will pay $920 million to settle U.S. civil and criminal charges over fake trades in the precious metals and Treasury markets designed to manipulate the market, U.S. agencies announced Tuesday.

The U.S. banking giant reached a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department over the long-running schemes, resolving criminal fraud charges against the company.

The penalty is a record for spoofing – a practice in which traders place orders they intend to cancel to move prices to benefit their market positions.

In one of the schemes, JPMorgan traders in New York, London and Singapore between 2008 and 2016 commissioned tens of thousands of orders in the gold, silver, platinum and palladium futures that were placed in order to be canceled to deceive other market participants, said a press release from the Department of Justice, one of three agencies involved in the case.

Over the same rough time period, traders in JPMorgan offices in London and New York commissioned orders to buy and sell U.S. Treasury products with the intent of misleading other traders.

“For nearly a decade, a significant number of JPMorgan traders and sales personnel openly disregarded U.S. laws that serve to protect against illegal activity in the marketplace,” said William Sweeney Jr., assistant director of FBI’s New York field office.

“Today’s deferred prosecution agreement, in which JPMorgan Chase and Co. agreed to pay nearly $1 billion in penalties and victim compensation, is a stark reminder to others that allegations of this nature will be aggressively investigated and pursued.”

Besides the fine, JPMorgan is required to beef up its compliance program and self-report any offenses, said the Justice Department, whose criminal case was settled along with civil charges from the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The agreement takes into account JPMorgan’s cooperation with the probe and steps already taken, such as the hiring of hundreds of new compliance officers, the Justice Department said.

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