New Scrutiny for JPMorgan Chase

The lobby of JP Morgan headquarters is photographed through it's front doors in New York Friday. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

U.S securities regulators have now opened a preliminary investigation into a gigantic $2 billion trading loss that banking juggernaut JPMorgan Chase & Co. disclosed Thursday.

According to The New York Times, investigators are looking into JPMorgan’s disclosures related to the trades and its accounting practices. The bank’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, issued the equivalent of a mea culpa late Thursday, saying “egregious mistakes” were made. The loss reportedly stemmed from huge bets on complex derivatives tied to corporate bonds.

Dimon had previously been less remorseful when The Wall Street Journal originally reported in April that a London-based JPMorgan trader was making bets so large they were distorting the market. JPMorgan has also been outspoken against new banking regulations such as the so-called “Volcker Rule” – which would rein in banks from placing bets with their own funds.

The bank’s $2 billion loss drew immediate fire this week from U.S. lawmakers, who used it as an example of why stronger banking regulations are needed. Michigan Senator Carl Levin, a Democrat who helped push for the Volcker Rule, called the $2 billion loss  “the latest evidence that what banks call ‘hedges’ are often risky bets that so-called ‘too big to fail’ banks have no business making.”

Sweep to S.E.C. Opens Investigation Into JPMorgan’s $2 Billion Loss

An anti-corruption task force in Papua New Guinea announced a sweeping crackdown on public corruption this week – with the group’s chairman saying the country had turned from a “constitutional democracy into mobocracy.”

On the eve of new elections in the country, the task force announced Thursday that it had arrested at least 35 people. Twenty-four public officials have been suspended on suspicion of corruption, scores of politicians were being investigated further and nearly a dozen attorneys were also the subject of corruption probes, The Australian reports.

The task force announced it had seized $20 million in illegal funds, and is on the trail of $200 million more.

Sweep to PNG confronts cancer of graft as poll looms

The case against disgraced former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards will not be dismissed, a federal judge ruled Friday.

Edwards’ attorneys tried to get the corruption case thrown out after the prosecution rested its case in the high-profile trial – a not uncommon trial tactic. But after about three hours of arguments the judge denied the motion.

That means the trial will proceed, and Edwards’ defense team will begin presenting its witnesses in the North Carolina courtroom next week, the Associated Press reports.

Edwards is charged with numerous campaign finance violations stemming from money he allegedly funneled to his pregnant mistress in 2008.

Sweep to Judge refuses to dismiss John Edwards charges


Aaron Kessler

Aaron Kessler

Aaron Kessler is an award-winning journalist who for nearly a decade has investigated a wide range of subjects from financial crimes by corporations and individuals, to politics and government abuses at the local, state and federal levels, to terrorist financing networks.