JPMorgan faces action on laundering controls

JPMorgan Chase

U.S. regulators are expected to order JPMorgan Chase & Co to correct lapses in how it polices suspect money flows, two people familiar with the situation said, in the latest move by officials to force banks to tighten their anti money-laundering systems.

The action against JPMorgan, which is expected as soon as Friday, would be in the form of a cease-and-desist order, which regulators use to force banks to improve compliance weaknesses, the sources said.

JPMorgan will probably not have to pay a monetary penalty, one of the sources said.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve are expected to issue a cease-and-desist order, the sources said. The Treasury Department's anti money-laundering unit, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, could take a separate action against the bank, they said.

The status of the inquiry could change, and the timing of the action could extend to next week or later.

A JPMorgan spokeswoman declined to comment.

U.S. regulators have been cracking down on lapses at banks on their anti money- laundering controls. Banks are supposed to flag suspect transactions from sanctioned countries or those from customers with ties to drug trafficking or terrorism.

Britain's Standard Chartered Plc last year agreed to pay a total of $667 million to U.S. and state regulators to resolve anti-money laundering probes, while HSBC Holdings Plc, also headquartered in Britain, agreed in December to pay $1.9 billion to settle a U.S. inquiry.

In April, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency identified major lapses in compliance systems at U.S. bank Citigroup Inc, which did not pay a monetary penalty.

The inquiry on JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank, dates back several months, the sources said.

The first public signs that JPMorgan had issues with its transaction monitoring systems emerged in August 2011. At that time JPMorgan agreed to pay $88.3 million to settle Treasury Department allegations that it engaged in prohibited transactions linked to Cuba and Iran.

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