Cross-posted from Zero Hedge
In the latest confirmation that “justice” in the US has become a sordid farce when it comes to the banking elite, moments ago the following two headlines from Reuters hit:
- U.S. DECIDES TO DROP CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST FORMER JPMORGAN TRADERS JAVIER MARTIN-ARTAJO, JULIEN GROUT IN ‘LONDON WHALE’ CASE
- U.S. SAYS DEFENDANTS LIVE OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY AND HAVE REFUSED TO DEFEND THEMSELVES IN NEW YORK, AND EFFORTS TO EXTRADITE THEM HAVE BEEN UNSUCCESSFUL OR DEEMED FUTILE
Er, what: So just because two alleged criminal bankers “live outside the US” (not some 3rd world backwater dictatorship but Spain, with which the US has an extradition treaty) and “voluntarily” refuse to come to New York to defend themselves and – well – go to prison, and because the US is completely powerless to compel Spain to deliver these two men, they get to walk?
Yes, pretty much.
Here is the backstory:
Martin-Artajo and Grout were indicted in 2013 on five counts, including securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy.
Prosecutors said the duo hid losses within JPMorgan’s chief investment office in London by marking positions in a credit derivatives portfolio at inflated prices. Those losses were part of an overall $6.2 billion trading loss suffered by the bank centered on Bruno Iksil, the former trader known as the London Whale. Martin-Artajo supervised Iksil, while Grout worked for Iksil. Both men deny wrongdoing. In 2013, JPMorgan agreed to pay more than $1 billion to settle U.S. and British regulatory probes into the London Whale losses and admitted wrongdoing.
* * *
U.S. prosecutors said their efforts to extradite from Spain a former JPMorgan Chase & Co executive charged in connection with the bank’s $6.2 billion “London Whale” scandal had hit a dead end. In a filing in Manhattan federal court [in May 2015], prosecutors said Spanish authorities have decided not to appeal an April 23 ruling by a court rejecting the extradition to the United States of Javier Martin-Artajo, a Spanish citizen.
Former JPMorgan employee Javier Martin-Artajo (C), indicted by a U.S. grand
jury in relation to the bank’s “London Whale”
The filing came in a civil lawsuit brought in 2013 by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission against Martin-Artajo and another trader, Julien Grout, who were charged criminally at the same time. The Spanish court’s decision effectively has left both men out of U.S. prosecutors’ reach. Grout lives in France, which does extradite its own citizens.
The SEC in its own letter on Thursday said the men, who would likely invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, are not willing to be deposed, and Martin-Artajo’s lawyer has said any deposition must be in Europe.
With extradition off the table, prosecutors under Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said they no longer are seeking to delay depositions in the SEC’s case.
This is the same Preet who was so busy doing everything in his power to avoid prosecuting any and all Wall Street bankers, that he is now one of the leaders of the anti-Trump “resistance.”
Oh, and just to preserve some semblance of credibility as it washes its hands, here is the DOJ scapegoating Bruno Iksil, the original London Whale trader, who recently put up a website laying out his side of the story and who blamed Jamie Dimon for the London Whale fiasco.
U.S. SAYS NO LONGER BELIEVES IT CAN RELY ON TESTIMONY OF BRUNO IKSIL, A FORMER JPMORGAN COLLEAGUE, IN PROSECUTING MARTIN-ARTAJO AND GROUT
Because anytime someone dares to break away from the “syndicate”, and tells the actual truth, they can no longer be relied upon.
Meanwhile, we hope Kim Dot Com is paying attention…