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Citigroup Faces Criminal Charges in Australia: 3x Felon JPMorgan Is Said to be Cooperating

Courtesy of Pam Martens

The largest bank in the United States, JPMorgan Chase, is already a 3-time felon. It received two felony counts in 2014 for its role in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme and pleaded guilty to an additional felony count in 2015 for its role in a bank cartel that was rigging foreign currency trading. One more felony count and its Chairman and CEO, Jamie Dimon, might have finally been sacked by the bank’s timid Board for placing the bank’s global reputation under yet another scandal.

So, it appears this morning, based on an avalanche of reporting from Australia, that JPMorgan Chase has ratted out U.S. behemoth, Citigroup; the troubled German bank, Deutsche Bank; and Australian bank ANZ, in order to save its own skin. The Australian Financial Review politely writes that “JPMorgan blew the whistle” on the other banks over a $1.9 billion share sale of ANZ in 2015 and “is believed to have been granted immunity from alleged criminal cartel conduct.”

Notably, Citigroup was one of the banks handed a felony count along with JPMorgan Chase in 2015 for engaging in the foreign currency cartel.  Citigroup released a statement this morning indicating that it “steadfastly denies the allegations made against it, and certain employees.” Under Australian cartel laws, employees can face up to 10 years in prison while the company can be fined three times the profits achieved in the illegal conduct.

The criminal charges will focus on an 80.8 million share sale by ANZ in 2015 to comply with new regulatory capital requirements. Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan were the lead underwriters in the share sale. According to a statement from ANZ, prosecutors are alleging that it and its three underwriters reached a secret understanding of how $800 million of ANZ shares that they were unable to sell to outside investors during the offering would be eventually disposed of.

According to a statement from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission this morning, both the bank and employees of Citigroup are expected to be charged. The statement read:

“Further to its earlier statements regarding criminal cartel charges expected to be laid by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) against ANZ, its Group Treasurer Rick Moscati, and Deutsche Bank, the ACCC can confirm that Citigroup Global Markets Australia Pty Limited is the other company against which charges are expected to be laid, along with a number of individuals. The expected charges follow an extensive ACCC criminal cartel investigation. The ACCC will not make any further comment until charges are laid.”

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