US decides to drop criminal charges against former JPMorgan traders in 'London Whale' case

Beached Whale

The U.S. has decided to drop criminal charges against former JPMorgan traders Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout in the "London whale" case.

The two were charged with conspiring to falsify books and records of JPMorgan, to commit wire fraud, to make false filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and to commit securities fraud.

Martin-Artajo and Grout live outside of the U.S. and have refused to appear in court, according to court documents, and efforts to secure their appearance, including through extradition, have "been unsuccessful or deemed futile."

The U.S. had anticipated using testimony from Bruno Iksil, a former colleague of the two defendents, who became known as the "London whale." However, after reviewing Ikskil's statements and writings, prosecutors decided they could no longer rely on his testimony.

Joon Kim, the acting U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, asked a federal judge to issue a formal order dropping the fraud, conspiracy and other charges against Martin-Artajo and Grout, who were accused of hiding losses generated by Iksil. They were indicted in Sept. 2013.

"After four long years of protracted litigation, we are very pleased that the government has decided to do the right thing, and dismiss the criminal case," Grout's lawyer, Edward Little, said.

Lawyers for Martin-Artajo, as well as Iksil, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The "London Whale" case lost JPMorgan nearly $6.2 billion in 2012.

Iksil has publicly chafed at the "London Whale" moniker and being portrayed as solely responsible for the losses.

In a Feb. 2016 letter released to the media, he said he had been "instructed repeatedly" by senior management in the CIO to execute the trading strategy that caused the losses.

--Reuters contributed to this story.

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