Disclosures about the wonderful ways of bankers just keep on coming. This time the investigation is into a little matter of bribery and corruption.
The Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn, N.Y., are looking into $1.8 million that JPMorgan Chase paid to a two-person firm in China where one of the twosome was the daughter of China’s then Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. Not that the relationship with a relative was obvious. The consulting contract used the pseudonym Lily Chang rather than the daughter’s actual name of Wen Ruchun.
The New York Times reports that United States authorities are scrutinizing JPMorgan’s ties to Ms. Wen, whose alias was government approved, as part of a wider bribery investigation into whether the bank swapped contracts and jobs for business deals with state-owned Chinese companies, according to the documents and interviews. The bank, which is cooperating with the inquiries and conducting its own internal review, has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
The story makes for fascinating reading and follows on nicely from Times reports last year that Wen Jibao’s family had amassed $2.7 billion in assets.