JPMorgan near settlement with energy regulator: WSJ

Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:28pm EDT

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(Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission are close to reaching a settlement that could result in the bank making the largest payment ever to the U.S. energy market regulator, the Wall Street Journal reported on its website on Wednesday.

The amount to be paid is not yet known, but past discussions have involved close to $1 billion, the newspaper said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The two sides are exchanging drafts of a deal that would resolve allegations that the bank manipulated electricity markets in California and the Midwest, according to the report.

A JPMorgan spokesman declined to comment on the report.

A FERC spokesman declined to comment.

The bank previously disclosed that in March it received a notice from the regulator saying that its staff intended to recommend that the commission bring an action against the bank and some of its employees.

The staff's recommendation followed a dispute between the bank and regulators over whether the bank properly answered questions for investigators.

A JPMorgan spokeswoman said in May that bank disputed any allegations that employees lied or acted inappropriately in the matter.

In its report on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal said that within JPMorgan there is an increasing view that the company should resolve the matter quickly.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has said that the bank's priority this year is meeting obligations to regulators improve its internal controls.

JPMorgan came under increased scrutiny after losing $6.2 billion on its so-called "London Whale" derivatives trades last year.

JPMorgan shares were up 0.5 percent at $55.28 in late trading in New York on Wednesday.

(Reporting by David Henry in New York; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Nick Zieminski)

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