The New York Post has an explosive exclusive, if true:
Federal agents have launched parallel criminal and civil probes of JPMorgan Chase and its trading activity in the precious metals market, The Post has learned.
The probes are centering on whether or not JPMorgan, a top derivatives holder in precious metals, acted improperly to depress the price of silver, sources said.
The Commodities Futures Trade Commission is looking into civil charges, and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division is handling the criminal probe, according to sources, who did not wish to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the information.
That JPMorgan (JPM) has somehow been involved in silver market manipulation has been the source of rumour and speculation for a long time.
Things really heated up on this front in March, when a whistleblower was due to speak in Congress about commodity market manipulation, but was scrubbed from the list at the last second. That sent of all kinds of red flags. The New York Post was on the story then too, citing an outspoken trader named Andrew Maguire who claimed that JPMorgan and HSBC were doing the Fed’s work in ceaselessly selling silver (nakedly) on behalf of the Fed in order to keep prices down.
If today’s report is true, it would clearly indicate that at least at the regulatory level (if not the political level, where any financial reform is bound to be toothless), there’s been a major shift in attitude. Add this to the civil charges against Goldman Sachs (GS), and the Moody’s (MCO) Wells notice, and you’re starting to see a trend.