NEW YORK, Nov. 17 (UPI) — JPMorgan Chase & Co. has reportedly reached an agreement with federal authorities to pay more than $250 million to settle accusations that it effectively bribed Chinese officials — with offers of employment for relatives — to win lucrative business in the densely populated nation.
The settlement, which would be split among federal government agencies, could be announced as early as today, the New York Times reported late Wednesday.
The U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission have been investigating JPMorgan’s hiring practices in China for nearly three years, trying to determine whether they violated anti-bribery laws.
According to sources, authorities found that the bank offered to hire the adult children of Chinese officials in exchange for new business, news reports said. People familiar with the investigation said that practice was called the “Sons and Daughters Program.”
The Times report said the settlement amount will be around $264 million, and will be paid by the bank and a Hong Kong subsidiary. Regulators and Justice officials are expected to accuse JPMorgan of the long-running bribery scheme in their announcement.
However, the sources said, neither JPMorgan nor individual employees will be prosecuted criminally as a result of the probe. It’s believed the bank was fully cooperative with the government’s review.
JPMorgan has argued that hiring well-placed employees and interns in China is a common practice in the expansive nation. As part of the reported settlement, though, the bank will agree to accept the investigation’s findings and conclusions, the Times reported.
Bloomberg reported that about $130 million will be paid to the SEC and $70 million to the Justice Department. The Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency are also investigating, Bloomberg’s report said.
JPMorgan Chase did not comment on the matter Wednesday.