Updated Saturday, April 19, 2014 as of 8:40 PM ET
Practice - Regulatory/Compliance
JPMorgan’s $13 Billion U.S. Pact Seen Needing Court Review
by: Andrew Zajac and Cheyenne Hopkins
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
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(Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase’s $13 billion fraud settlement with the U.S. government should be blocked until a court is able to review it, a Wall Street watchdog group founded by an Atlanta hedge fund manager said.

Better Markets is seeking judicial scrutiny of the accord because it’s the largest settlement “with a single entity in the 237-year history of the U.S.,” according to a complaint filed today in Washington federal court. “No one has any ability to determine if the $13 billion agreement is fair” or “if it is a sweetheart deal,” the group said in the filing.

The accord, announced in November, settled allegations that the biggest U.S. lender by assets misled investors and the public when it sold bonds backed by faulty residential mortgages. U.S. and state officials blamed JPMorgan’s actions for helping to cause the credit crisis, and said the agreement didn’t shield JPMorgan or its employees from possible charges.

The Justice Department “acted as investigator, prosecutor, judge, juror, sentencer and collector,” Dennis Kelleher, chief executive officer of Better Markets, said at a press conference in Washington. The agreement was “mostly designed to conceal, not reveal.”

Brian Marchiony, a spokesman for New York-based JPMorgan, declined to comment on the complaint.

“The department is confident that the settlement reached with JPMorgan Chase complies with the law,” Ellen Canale, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement.

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