RPT-U.S. investigators say JPMorgan "manipulated" power trading-NYT

Fri May 3, 2013 12:31am EDT

May 3 (Reuters) - U.S. government investigators have found that JPMorgan Chase & Co had manipulated trading in the California and Michigan electricity markets, the New York Times reported.

The newspaper said it had reviewed a confidential, 70-page government document that was sent to JPMorgan in March and which also took aim at Blythe Masters, the bank's current head of global commodities and former chief financial officer.

The New York Times, citing the document, said investigators from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had found that JPMorgan devised "manipulative schemes" that transformed "money-losing power plants into powerful profit centers".

The regulatory document also says Masters had "falsely" denied under oath her awareness of schemes carried out by a group of energy traders in Houston, the newspaper said, without elaborating.

It was not immediately clear whether the FERC will take action against JPMorgan based on the investigators' findings, the New York Times said.

"We intend to vigorously defend the firm and the employees in this matter," the newspaper quoted JPMorgan spokeswoman Kristin Lemkau as saying. "We strongly dispute that Blythe Masters or any employee lied or acted inappropriately in this matter," she said.

In November, FERC imposed a temporary ban on JPMorgan's physical power trading for failing to disclose information in a market manipulation investigation.