JP Morgan Chase is willing to pay up to $3 billion to settle a number of current U.S. investigations, including the FCPA probe of its hiring practices, according to a report Tuesday from the Wall Street Journal.
The settlement talks covered a half dozen pending civil and criminal investigations, sources close to the talks said.
The DOJ wants JP Morgan to pay ‘billions more’ than $3 billion, the WSJ said.
In August, JP Morgan disclosed an investigation into the hiring of relatives of top Chinese officials to win underwriting and other work.
More than 200 hires were flagged for review, sources said.
The SEC was first reported to be looking at a couple of hires in Hong Kong involving children of China officials. But the DOJ soon joined the investigation, which expanded to countries across Asia, reports said.
Hiring a family member of a government official isn’t always a violation of the FCPA. But if the relative is hired to reward or induce an official to award work, that could be an offense.
A Bloomberg story last month said a JP Morgan spreadsheet emerged during the internal investigation that ‘links some hiring decisions to specific transactions pursued by the bank.’
The current settlement talks are ‘very fluid’ and an agreement is ‘far from certain,’ sources told Devlin Barrett and Robin Sidel of the Wall Street Journal.
No details were reported about how much of the settlement amount might be allocated to resolve the hiring-practices probe.
A settlement of the FCPA-related investigation costing JP Morgan more than $95 million would land on our top ten list.
Last week, JP Morgan paid $920 million in fines to U.S. and British regulators to resolved the $6 billion London whale trading debacle that happened in 2012.
In July, the bank paid $410 million to settle U.S. civil charges over allegations that it manipulated power prices in California and the Midwest.
Richard L. Cassin is the Publisher and Editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.