Morgan Chase Whacked for $228 Million

WASHINGTON (CN) – JPMorgan Chase will pay $228 million for its role in fixing the municipal bonds market, the Justice Department said. The SEC and 25 state attorneys general signed onto the settlement.

     “As part of its agreement with the department, JPMorgan admits, acknowledges and accepts responsibility for illegal, anticompetitive conduct by its former employees,” the Justice Department said in announcing the settlement. “According to the non-prosecution agreement, from 2001 through 2006, certain former JPMorgan employees at its municipal derivatives desk, entered into unlawful agreements to manipulate the bidding process and rig bids on municipal investment and related contracts.”
     Eighteen former executives of financial services companies have been charged in the antitrust investigation of municipal bond derivatives, and nine have pleaded guilty.
     UBS agreed in May to pay $160 million for its role in the bid rigging and price fixing.
     Morgan Chase’s $228 million will go toward restitution, penalties and disgorgement.
     The only unusual thing in the deal, announced Thursday, is that Morgan Chase did not refuse to accept responsibility for what it did, as is customary in these cases.

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