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Big bank reportedly offering $3B to settle list of legal issues

The legal road doesn't appear to be getting any easier for JPMorgan Chase & Co. According to sources familiar with the goings on involving the big bank, negotiations are reportedly underway with the Department of Justice in a bid to try to resolve a broad spectrum of probes.

Word of the discussions comes in the wake of an announcement last week that the giant investment bank has been fined about $920 million in civil penalties for wrongdoing related to securities litigation in one case stemming from the sale of mortgage-backed investments that reportedly cost more than $6 billion in losses. Under terms of the deal, the firm admits fault, but none is assigned to any top executive.

Exactly what matters might be covered under the newest round of talks isn't clear. There are said to be as many as six different DOJ investigations underway. According to the sources being cited by The Wall Street Journal, JPMorgan Chase is offering to pay in the neighborhood of $3 billion to close down the probes. But one source says regulators think the bank should pay billions of dollars more for the deal.

There are some who say that even if the bank does manage to come to some sort of terms, it might not be the end of its difficulties with law enforcement. The Journal says any agreement would not apply to ongoing criminal investigations into the sale of those mortgage-backed securities mentioned earlier and the bank's participation in energy markets.

Those familiar with the discussions say that in addition to questions over what cases would possibly resolved and what should be paid, there are likely to be disputes over what admissions of fault the bank might be required to make.

Source: Online.WSJ.com, "J.P. Morgan, U.S. in Talks to Settle Array of Cases," Devlin Barrett and Robin Sidel, Sept. 24, 2013

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