Pretty much everybody in the world with subpoena power has hit JPMorgan Chase with requests for information in the Libor-rigging scandal.
The biggest U.S. bank revealed the extent of its involvement in the probe in a filing Thursday morning with the Securities and Exchange Commission, saying regulators in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Switzerland and more had asked it for information:
JPMorgan Chase has received subpoenas and requests for documents and, in some cases, interviews, from the DOJ, CFTC, SEC, European Commission, UK Financial Services Authority, Canadian Competition Bureau, Swiss Competition Commission and other regulatory authorities and banking associations around the world.
That’s a whole lot of subpoenas.
For the uninitiated, “DOJ, CFTC, SEC” refer to the Justice Department, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission. “Libor” stands for “London Interbank Offered Rate,” a short-term interest rate that affects borrowing costs for homeowners, companies and borrowers throughout the world, along with about $350 trillion in credit derivatives. Despite its importance, the rate has apparently been manipulated constantly for years, in what may be the biggest financial scandal of all time.
JPMorgan — which said it was cooperating with the investigations — has also received requests for information about its involvement in setting Euribor and Tibor, the European and Japanese versions of Libor, respectively.
The bank made a similar disclosure in its previous quarterly filing in May.
JPMorgan has been identified as one of 16 banks in the U.S., the U.K. and Europe under investigation for manipulating Libor.
Barclays has already agreed to pay $450 million in fines in the case, admitting its traders pushed Libor higher and lower to either gain advantage in derivatives trades or make the bank look healthier.
Other banks will likely soon follow, and regulators are building criminal cases against individual traders and maybe banks, too.
Previously, Bank of America and Citigroup have said that they, too, have gotten subpoenas in the Libor case, though they mentioned fewer regulatory agencies than JPMorgan did.
JPMorgan also said it was the subject of a large and growing number of lawsuits coming out of the Libor mess. State and local governments, for example, are suing banks for keeping Libor too low, hurting the value of interest-rate swaps they bought to protect against rising rates.
By Mark Gongloff, The Huffington Post – August 9, 2012
- JPMorgan Chase bombarded with subpoenas from around the world (thesantosrepublic.com)
- JPMorgan Chase’s Precarious Position Amid Interlocking Scandals and Investigations (news.firedoglake.com)
- What’s Fed to Do as 15 of 18 Banks Fixing Libor Aren’t American (bloomberg.com)
- JPMorgan Chase cuts profit figure amid probe into big trading loss (nzherald.co.nz)
- The Dark Heart of the Libor Scandal (counterpunch.org)