Report: JPMorgan Nears $2 Billion Deal in Madoff Case

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JPMorgan Chase is nearing a $2 billion settlement with federal authorities to resolve suspicions that the bank ignored signs of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme, The New York Times reported, citing people briefed on the case.

The bank's civil and criminal settlements would also involve a deferred prosecution agreement, a criminal action that would suspend an indictment as long as the bank acknowledged the facts of the government's case and changed its behavior, the Times said.

JPMorgan (JPM) will pay more than $1 billion to the prosecutors in Manhattan and the remainder to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and a unit of the Treasury Department investigating breakdowns in the bank's safeguards against money laundering, according to details of the deal.

The government plans to use some of the payout for Madoff's victims, the newspaper said.

Madoff was convicted in 2009 of defrauding thousands of investors and is serving a 150-year prison sentence. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%JPMorgan has been accused of ignoring warning signs that Madoff's business was a fraud, often to win more fees and commissions for services they provided.

JPMorgan spokesman Joseph Evangelisti declined to comment on the New York Times report when contacted by Reuters.

Once reaching the Madoff settlements, the bank will have paid some $20 billion to resolve government investigations over the last 12 months, the newspaper said.

A government official told Reuters last month that the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of the Inspector General was examining whether JPMorgan interfered with the OCC's attempts to probe the bank's relationship with Madoff.

Madoff had also separately told U.S. authorities that JPMorgan -- the bank he had used during his decades-long investment scam -- had tried to stop the OCC from getting information about their relationship.

Report: JPMorgan Nears $2 Billion Deal in Madoff Case

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The case has echoes of Societe Generale trader Jerome Kerviel, who hid €5 billion in losses. Kerviel said SocGen turned a blind eye to his colossal positions in late 2007 and early 2008 as long as they made money for the bank.

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JPMorgan Chase announces a loss of $2 billion from a trade that was meant to protect the bank if the global economy sharply deteriorated. Later, losses from the bad trade swell to nearly $6 billion and shave much more from the company's stock market value. The episode heightens concerns that the biggest banks still pose risks to the U.S. financial system, less than four years after the financial crisis.

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