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JPMorgan in settlement talks over Calif. energy market manipulation

July 18, 2013|By Andrew Tangel
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co. has been in settlement talks with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. has been in settlement talks with the Federal Energy… (Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty…)

NEW YORK -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. has been in settlement talks with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission over allegations that the nation's biggest bank manipulated California's energy market, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The New York-based bank has been in negotiations during the last few weeks, and the settlement figure could be around $500 million, said this person, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The commission has taken an increasingly aggressive stance in cracking down on manipulation of the nation's energy markets.

Earlier this week, the regulator ordered the British banking giant Barclays and four of its traders to pay $453 million in civil penalties over allegations they manipulated electricity prices in California and other markets from late 2006 through late 2008. Barclays has reportedly said it would fight the order.

Earlier this year, JPMorgan said it received a notice from the commission that its staff planned to recommend regulatory action against the bank.

In a May filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, JPMorgan said the energy commission notified the bank in March it would recommend a "possible enforcement action" stemming from its investigation into "bidding practices in certain organized power markets."

News of the settlement negotiations with JPMorgan was earlier reported by the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

Spokespeople for JPMorgan and FERC declined to comment.

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