Ex-JPMorgan trader in 'Whale' scandal open to facing U.S. charges

Wed Apr 2, 2014 4:53pm EDT
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By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A lawyer for a former JPMorgan Chase & Co trader accused of helping to hide trading losses tied to a $6.2 billion financial scandal said on Wednesday his client was open to leaving France to voluntarily face U.S. criminal charges.

Julien Grout, the former trader, is accused of participating in a conspiracy to hide losses within JPMorgan's Chief Investment Office in London by marking positions in a credit derivatives portfolio at inflated prices.

He and another one-time trader at the bank, Javier Martin-Artajo, are considered fugitives by the U.S. government for not coming to the United States to face trial over charges stemming from the so-called London Whale scandal.

But at a hearing in federal court in New York, Marc Weinstein, a lawyer for Grout, told U.S. District Judge George Daniels that talks were under way with prosecutors about a bail package that would enable Grout, a French citizen, to come to the United States.

"We certainly have been making efforts on Mr. Grout's behalf to get him here to face these charges," Weinstein said.

Details of the bail negotiations came during a hearing in a parallel civil lawsuit brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission against Grout and Martin-Artajo.

In court papers, Grout's lawyers say he would come to the United States to face charges if he received a bail package that would allow him to return to France while awaiting trial.

If a bail package is negotiated, Grout would be the first of the two defendants to submit to U.S. jurisdiction. Martin-Artajo who lives in Spain, has been fighting extradition. Both men deny wrongdoing.   Continued...

A sign outside the headquarters of JP Morgan Chase & Co in New York, September 19, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar