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Yet more criminal investigations of big banks

January 9th, 2014

JP Morgan Chase and Co has so far agreed to roughly $22 billion in payouts over the last year to settle various lawsuits including this week’s settlement for alleged failures to stop Bernard L. Madoff’s massive fraud. But don’t think the story of misbehaviour by the biggest bank in the USA is over. The US government is still investigating alleged manipulation of currency and interest-rate benchmarks along with JP Morgan’s overseas hiring practices and now, reported the Wall Street Journal this week, it is one of at least eight banks under scrutiny by prosecutors and regulators over whether banks cheated mortgage-bond clients in the years following the financial crisis.

The Justice Department is investigating alongside the Securities and Exchange Commission and the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or Sigtarp, the people close to the probe said. The investigation, revealed by The Wall Street Journal in a page-one article Wednesday, is the first known wide-ranging probe into mortgage-bond sales by banks in the years after the economic meltdown of 2008.

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