Bruno Iksil, the former JPMorgan trader who became known as the “London Whale” as his unit began generating more than $6.2bn in losses in 2012, surfaced on Monday to say he isn’t responsible for the debacle.
Bloomberg News reports that the Frenchman, who isn’t among former colleagues being prosecuted and has agreed to assist U.S. authorities in their cases, wrote in a letter sent to Bloomberg that he was “instructed repeatedly” by managers in the chief investment office, or CIO, to execute the strategy that went awry. He said he objects to the whale nickname and his association with the scandal.
“Publicity surrounding the losses sustained by the CIO of JPMorgan typically refers to ‘the London Whale’ in terms that imply that one person was responsible for the trades at issue,” he wrote. “In fact the losses suffered by the CIO were not the actions of one person acting in an unauthorized manner. My role was to execute a trading strategy that had been initiated, approved, mandated and monitored by the CIO’s senior management.”
Iksil’s 3 1/2-page letter breaks his long-standing public silence following the episode, which culminated in government probes, more than $900m in regulatory sanctions against the bank and a 50% pay cut for Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon for one year.
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