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November 19, 2013

If It’s Not an Indefensible Sweetheart Settlement, Why Did DOJ Fail to Disclose Key Information about It?

If It’s Not an Indefensible Sweetheart Settlement,
Why Did DOJ Fail to Disclose Key Information about It?
“The $13 billion settlement between the Department of Justice and JP Morgan Chase may be an historic amount of money, but it may also be an indefensible sweetheart deal for the country’s largest bank. That’s why the most important part of the settlement is not the dollar amount: it is that no information was released that would enable anyone to judge the merits of the deal. That cannot be an accident and it raises the possibility that DOJ’s over-the-top rhetoric congratulating itself on the deal may very well be covering up a sellout settlement that cannot withstand independent public scrutiny,” said Dennis Kelleher, President of Better Markets, Inc., an independent nonprofit organization that promotes the public interest in the financial markets.
“Given that the settlement was negotiated entirely behind closed doors, full disclosure and transparency are required so that the public can judge for itself whether or not this is an early Christmas gift for the country’s most powerful, well-connected bank and banker. On November 6th, Better Markets sent the attached letter to the Attorney General and others involved in the settlement negotiations, detailing the information that must be disclosed if the public is to have any basis for confidence or trust in the settlement, the Attorney General, or the justice system,” Mr. Kelleher said.
As set forth in more detail in our letter, DOJ’s announcement fails to, but must, disclose the following information:
  1. How many state and federal matters, investigations and lawsuits are being settled;
  2. The details of the mortgage fraud and illegal conduct involved in each settled action;
  3. How much money investors or others lost in each settled action;
  4. How much revenue and profits JP Morgan Chase made from each settled action;
  5. What specific executives, supervisors and staff were involved in the illegal conduct;
  6. Why no individuals are charged civilly;
  7. Why there are no clear and unequivocal admissions of wrongdoing of material conduct;
  8. Why they are calling a “statement of facts” admissions of wrongdoing;
  9. Why there is only reference to misrepresentations and non-disclosure; and
  10. Why there are no fraud charges.
Better Markets is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes the public interest in financial reform in the domestic and global capital and commodity markets. Better Markets advocates for transparency, oversight, and accountability with the goal of a stronger, safer financial system that is less prone to crisis and failure, thereby eliminating or minimizing the need for more taxpayer funded bailouts.
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