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JPMorgan expects to settle Whale probes for about $700 million: source

A sign stands in front of the JPMorgan Chase & Co bank headquarters building in New York, March 15, 2013.REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
A sign stands in front of the JPMorgan Chase & Co bank headquarters building in New York, March 15, 2013.REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

(Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co is close to settling civil law investigations into its London Whale derivatives loss and expects to pay about $700 million, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Completion of the deal depends on coordinating agreements with multiple government agencies, said the source who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

The source spoke after Bloomberg News and the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that JPMorgan has agreed with regulators on how much it will pay.

But as the company worked to resolve the civil matters, the U.S. Department of Justice pressed ahead on a related criminal case involving the loss. Prosecutors on Monday filed a grand jury indictment accusing two former JPMorgan traders of fraud, conspiracy and making false filings to the SEC. {ID:L2N0HC233]

The indictment, against Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout, advances the prosecution of criminal charges brought against the men last month by the U.S. Department of Justice. The men are accused of hiding the mounting losses on the derivatives early last year. {ID:nL2N0GF0NR]

A third trader, Bruno Iksil, has been cooperating with the criminal investigation and has not been charged criminally. Iksil was nicknamed the "London Whale" by hedge funds for the size of the large size of the trades he made for the company's Chief Investment Office in London.

JPMorgan corrected its first quarter financial report last year after concluding the loss to that point had been understated by the traders. The company has said that executives did not intend to mislead investors, though CEO Jamie Dimon apologized for initially calling press reports of dangerous trading a "tempest in a teapot."

The bank, the biggest in the United States, ultimately lost $6.2 billion on the trades and is now under intense scrutiny from regulators over its risk and financial controls.

The settlements the company expects soon would be over civil law issues with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve and the United Kingdom's Financial Conduct Authority, the source said.

JPMorgan has been pushing for weeks to resolve the company's liability to regulators. News of an imminent settlement came on a day the company's board of directors planned to meet.

The bank is trying to mend its relationships with regulators after surprising them with the derivatives loss at a time when Chief Executive Jamie Dimon was complaining that the regulators were going too far with reforms to avert another financial crisis.

The company recently said it would record more than $1.5 billion of additional legal expenses in the third quarter.

JPMorgan shares rose 1 percent on Monday to close at $53.14. Last year, just before JPMorgan acknowledged that it was losing billions of dollars are on the derivatives, the stock traded around $41.

(Reporting by David Henry, Emily Flitter and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Carol Bishopric and Richard Chang)

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