JPMorgan raises questions about lawyer at New York AG's office

Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:59pm EST
 
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By Karen Freifeld

NEW YORK (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM.N has raised questions about the involvement of a senior lawyer from the New York Attorney General's office in one of the few government lawsuits alleging wrongdoing by banks in the run-up to the financial crisis.

The case against JPMorgan is similar to one that the lawyer had worked on before joining the Attorney General's office, JPMorgan said in court papers this week, raising the possibility of a conflict of interest.

JPMorgan said it had asked New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman "whether there is additional information about this lawyer's involvement ... before deciding what further action is warranted."

The bank did not specify what action it could take, but legal experts said JPMorgan could argue that the New York Attorney General's office had a conflict of interest.

Schneiderman's office did not immediately comment on JPMorgan's request for information.

JPMorgan's court filing did not identify the lawyer by name but gave the title of executive deputy attorney general for economic justice - the position held by former Paterson Belknap Webb & Tyler partner Karla Sanchez.

While at Paterson Belknap, Sanchez helped bring a case by bond insurer Ambac against JPMorgan over the sale of toxic assets by its Bear Stearns unit before the financial crisis.

Schneiderman brought the new, similar case against JPMorgan in October.   Continued...

 
The entrance to JPMorgan Chase's international headquarters on Park Avenue is seen in New York October 2, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton