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No One Is Ever Going To Jail Over That Whole London Whale Thing

You probably knew that already.
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That's about the size of it.

In the unlikely event that you think about Jamie Dimon’s $6.2 billion bad day a few of years ago anymore, that headline isn’t terribly likely to surprise you. Since, you know, it’s been three years now and the only thing that’s happened is that a couple of people who worked with the whale are now confined to their home countries so that Preet Bharara can’t get his hands on them. But now, it’s official, since the Financial Conduct Authority has decided it’s spent enough time banging its head against the wall and won’t be pursuing any more whale-related matters. Which is great news for Bruno Iksil and also for anyone else who still works at a bank and also hopes not to be prosecuted for doing their jobs, but which makes law enforcement look pretty impotent indeed.

While Mr. Iksil has emerged scot-free, his immediate boss, Javier Martin-Artajo, a Spanish national, and Mr. Iksil’s lower-ranking assistant, Julien Grout, who is French, face criminal charges and civil claims. But Mr. Martin-Artajo is in Spain, where a court has refused to extradite him, and Mr. Grout is in France, which typically does not extradite its own citizens. Although the investigation in the United States officially remains open, it appears no one, in all likelihood, will be held legally accountable.

“It’s laughable, really, that so many banks have been prosecuted and it’s always the fault of a rogue trader, or an isolated trading desk,” said Brandon L. Garrett, a law professor at the University of Virginia and author of the book “Too Big to Jail.” ”But when risky behavior is repeatedly tolerated or concealed, you have to wonder if higher-ranking people should have been targeted.”

Convictions Prove Elusive in ‘London Whale’ Trading Case [NYT]



London Whale Prevents Tragic Miscarriage Of Justice

It turns out he was trying to put the wrong people in jail.

London Whale Also Not Responsible For Those Last 10 Pounds You Haven't Lost

There are a lot of things that, if you wanted to, you could legitimately blame on former JP Morgan employee London P. Whale. The $6.2 billion trading loss the bank incurred over the summer. Ina Drew getting fired. This awkward phone call. Some stuff you can't pin on him, though many have tried: male pattern baldness, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Apple Maps, Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy, tempting as it may be.

You Say "Voldemort" Like That's A Bad Thing

Do you think that Bruno Iksil, when he woke up in Paris on Friday looking forward to trading from home in his black jeans, expected to become an international celebrity? The evidence suggests not. You may remember Iksil - possibly under other names like "Voldemort" or "the London Whaleâ„¢" as the JPMorgan chief investment office trader who has sold protection on $100bn of notional of a CDX investment grade index to ... hedge ... JPMorgan's massive short position in credit ... or ... something?* Anyway a lot of people are mad at him because that's just too much protection to sell on that index and so they are complaining to Bloomberg and the Journal about how he is manipulating the market and also taking huge proprietary risks with JPMorgan capital that should obvs be regulated out of existence. This is weird in a lot of ways but one of them is that you can distill a lot of the Volcker-Rule complaints into "my God, you're telling me that JPMorgan is exposed to $100bn of credit risk on investment-grade debt issued by a diverse mix of 121 U.S. companies!?" No! JPMorgan is exposed to something like $750bn of credit risk on debt issued by a diverse mix of companies. Some of it's non-US. Some of it's not even investment grade. And that's just in its loan book.** Is writing $100bn of protection on the CDX.IG.NA.9 a terrible risk to take with investor and depositor and government-backstop money? Well, define "terrible risk." It's certainly less risky than operating the rest of JPMorgan.***