The largest bank in the United States, JPMorgan Chase, is already a 3-time felon. It received two felony counts in 2014 for its role in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme and pleaded guilty to an additional felony count in 2015 for its role in a bank cartel that was rigging foreign currency trading. One more felony count and its Chairman and CEO, Jamie Dimon, might have finally been sacked by the bank’s timid Board for placing the bank’s global reputation under yet another scandal.
So, it appears this morning, based on an avalanche of reporting from Australia, that JPMorgan Chase has ratted out U.S. behemoth, Citigroup; the troubled German bank, Deutsche Bank; and Australian bank ANZ, in order to save its own skin. The Australian Financial Review politely writes that “JPMorgan blew the whistle” on the other banks over a $1.9 billion share sale of ANZ in 2015 and “is believed to have been granted immunity from alleged criminal cartel conduct.”
Notably, Citigroup was one of the banks handed a felony count along with JPMorgan Chase in 2015 for engaging in the foreign currency cartel. Citigroup released a statement this morning indicating that it “steadfastly denies the allegations made against it, and certain employees.” Under Australian cartel laws, employees can face up to 10 years in prison while the company can be fined three times the profits achieved in the illegal conduct.
The criminal charges will focus on an 80.8 million share sale by ANZ in 2015 to comply with new regulatory capital requirements. Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan were the lead underwriters in the share sale. According to a statement from ANZ, prosecutors are alleging that it and its three underwriters reached a secret understanding of how $800 million of ANZ shares that they were unable to sell to outside investors during the offering would be eventually disposed of.