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FBI Investigating Chase's Loss
May 18, 2012
The FBI is investigating JPMorganChase's $2 billion loss, but law professor and New York Times blogger Peter J. Henning points out that this doesn't actually mean the FBI thinks it has a lot of reason to expect to find a crime. After all, it's only starting an investigation -- the point of which is to find out what happened.
But the costs of an investigation to its target, Henning points out, can be substantial. First of all, even if the underlying conduct (in this case, the money-losing investment) was perfectly innocent, there are all sorts of opportunities for people to violate the law during the investigation: they might lie (remember Martha Stewart), or destroy evidence -- or they might be wrongly accused of doing so. Second, legal bills can pile up -- especially because employees and corporations need separate lawyers (remember Ian Norris).
In any event, the $2 billion loss ought to be a purely private matter.
Meanwhile, Chase shareholders rejected a proposal to separate the CEO and chairman jobs, both currently held by Jamie Dimon.