The U.S. Treasury Department’s inspector general has threatened to punish JPMorgan Chase for failing to turn over documents to regulators investigating the bank’s ties to Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.
Bloomberg reports that Inspector General Eric Thorson gave the largest U.S. bank a January 11th deadline to cooperate with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency probe or risk sanctions for impeding the agency’s oversight. JPMorgan, according to the December 21st letter, contends the information is protected by attorney-client privilege.
Thorson’s letter didn’t spell out what documents the OCC is seeking or the focus of its investigation. Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence after confessing to the fraud that once claimed to have $65bn in customer assets.
The previously undisclosed OCC probe adds to the lender’s troubles in Washington, where several agencies and lawmakers are investigating the bank’s loss of at least $6.2bn on botched derivatives trades. The losses have prompted regulators including the Federal Reserve to consider tightening proposed restrictions on proprietary trading.
Jennifer Zuccarelli, a JPMorgan spokeswoman, said the bank 'will of course continue to work together with our regulators' on the investigation.
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