JPMorgan Chase coughs up $100 million more for reckless derivatives bets

JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay $100 million to the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC) for reckless betting by London traders on derivatives resulting in over $6 billion in losses.

The agreement is one of many concluded by JPMorgan Chase with British and American regulators over the “London Whale” disaster. Last month, JPMorgan paid out $920 million to four regulators.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today issued an Order against JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (JPMorgan or Bank), bringing and settling charges for employing a manipulative device in connection with the Bank’s trading of certain credit default swaps (CDS), in violation of the new Dodd-Frank prohibition against manipulative conduct. As set forth in the CFTC’s Order, by selling a staggering volume of these swaps in a concentrated period, the Bank, acting through its traders, recklessly disregarded the fundamental precept on which market participants rely, that prices are established based on legitimate forces of supply and demand. As a result, after a thorough 17-month investigation, the Commission has found the Bank liable for violating Section 6(c)(1) of the Commodity Exchange Act (the “Act”), 7 U.S.C. §9 (2012), as amended by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (“Dodd-Frank”), and Commission Regulation 180.1, 17 C.F.R. §180.1 (2012).

JPMorgan, which admits the specified factual findings in the Order including that its traders acted recklessly, is directed, among other things, to pay a $100 million civil monetary penalty.

“In Dodd-Frank, Congress provided a powerful new tool enabling the CFTC for the first time to prohibit reckless manipulative conduct,” said David Meister, the CFTC’s Director of Enforcement. “As this case demonstrates, the Commission is now better armed than ever to protect the market from traders, like those here, who try to ‘defend’ their position by dumping a gargantuan, record-setting, volume of swaps virtually all at once, recklessly ignoring the obvious dangers to legitimate pricing forces.”

Read the CTFC release in full here.
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