Three federal agencies on Thursday penalized JPMorgan Chase & Co. just short of $264 million for hiring practices aimed at gaining favor with government officials in China.
The settlements bring to a close a long-running investigation into recruitment activities, dating back to 2006, at JPMorgan’s Asia-Pacific investment bank unit based in Hong Kong.
The Federal Reserve, Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission reached separate settlements with the New York-based lender. The Fed ordered a $61.9 million payment, the SEC ordered $130 million and DOJ ordered a $72 million penalty.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell called JPMorgan’s hiring practices “nothing more than bribery by any other name.”
“Awarding prestigious employment opportunities to unqualified individuals in order to influence government officials is corruption, plain and simple,” Caldwell said in a statement.
The program led to $35 million in profits from contracts with state-owned enterprises in China, according to the Justice Department. JPMorgan ended the hiring program in 2013.
As part of the settlements, JPMorgan is required to boost senior management’s oversight of hiring practices and cooperate with ongoing federal investigations into the individuals involved in the scandal.
JPMorgan acknowledged the settlement in an SEC regulatory filing.
“Other related investigations are ongoing,” the bank said. “The firm continues to cooperate with these investigations.”