Another risk officer in JPMorgan ‘Whale’ trade retains lawyer

NEW YORK, Tue Aug 21, 2012 – Another JPMorgan Chase & Co. risk manager, who worked for a division that lost at least $5.8 billion on a series of complex derivatives trades, has hired a lawyer in connection with probes into the so-called “London Whale” trading debacle, according to sources familiar with the investigations.

Federal authorities are investigating an allegation that some of the bank’s traders in London may have tried to hide hefty losses, and JPMorgan is conducting an internal probe.

Peter Weiland, who was head of risk at JPMorgan’s CIO from late 2008 until the beginning of 2012, is one of at least six people associated with the case who have hired attorneys. He has been reassigned by the bank to a new risk control team at the overhauled Chief Investment Office where the loss occurred.

Weiland, who is based in New York, did not return requests for comment, and his lawyer declined to comment.

Of the six people who have hired attorneys, all but Weiland have either been fired by the bank or left on their own accord.

It is not clear how much interest federal authorities have in Weiland over an incident that has proved to be a major embarrassment for JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. There is no indication that authorities believe Weiland has done anything wrong.

It is not unusual for traders to retain counsel in such high-profile probes, in part to shield themselves when critical discussions occur about possible criminal or civil wrongdoing.

JPMorgan Chase CEO to appear before Senate panel

WASHINGTON, Thu May 31, 2012 – JPMorgan Chase and Co. CEO Jamie Dimon will testify before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on June 13 to discuss the bank’s recent trading losses, the committee said on Thursday.

The committee had previously asked Dimon to appear on June 7.

“June 13 is the only date in June that works for both the Senate Banking Committee and Mr. Dimon,” the committee said in a statement.

Earlier this month, JPMorgan said it had suffered at least $2 billion in losses from a set of trades that the bank said were meant to hedge risk, but that some analysts and critics say look more like speculation.

Regulators are examining what led to the losses before making any decisions about whether JPMorgan and other large banks will have to take steps to scale back the risk taking that led to the losses.

The losses have also added renewed vigor to the debate in Washington over how tough regulators should be when implementing the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial oversight law, passed in response to the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

A particular focus has been the so-called Volcker rule, which puts restrictions on bank trading activities.

A proposed rule was released in October, and a final version is due in July, although it may be delayed by a few months.

Supporters of the Volcker rule want regulators to tighten a provision in the October proposal that allows some trades to escape a ban on proprietary trading if they are done to hedge risk. They say the current proposal is too lax and would not have prevented the type of risk-taking that led to the JPMorgan losses.