London Whale Scandal: Former JPMorgan Trader Open to facing US Charges
A former JPMorgan trader, a Frenchman indicted in the 'London Whale' scandal, is open to facing US charges.Reuters

A former JPMorgan trader accused of helping to hide trading losses tied to the so-called London Whale trading scandal is prepared to leave France voluntarily to face criminal charges in the US.

Julien Grout was indicted in September 2013 on charges including securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy related to the $6.2bn (£3.7bn, €4.5bn) financial scandal in JPM's London investment office.

Grout and another one-time trader at the bank, Javier Martin-Artajo, are considered fugitives by the US government as they did not appear to face trial over charges arising from the scandal.

However, at a hearing in the federal court in New York on 2 April, Marc Weinstein, a lawyer for Grout, told US District Judge George Daniels that negotiations were under way with prosecutors about a bail package that would enable Grout, a French citizen, to appear in the US, Reuters reported.

Martin-Artajo, who lives in Spain, has been fighting extradition. Both men have denied wrongdoing.

Bail Negotiations

The details of the bail negotiations emerged during a hearing in a separate civil lawsuit filed by the US markets regulator against Grout and Martin-Artajo.

According to court papers, Grout's lawyers said his client would appear in the US to face charges provided he received a bail package that would allow him to return to France while awaiting trial.

However, Edward Little, another lawyer for Grout, said the US government was not open to allowing his client to return to France during trial.

Little also said he could follow Judge Daniels' suggestion and ask the judge overseeing the criminal case, US District Judge Lorna Schofield, to weigh in on the bail dispute.

Pursued by Reuters, a spokeswoman for Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara refused to comment.

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

JPM Fined

Last year, JPM received a near $1bn fine from US and UK financial regulators over its failings relating to the London Whale scandal, in which one trader – Bruno Iksil – built up $6bn of losses in a series of terrible market bets.

The bank was accused of not reacting quickly enough to warning signs from its London investment office where the huge loss was made, as well as not being fully transparent with regulators.

The cases in US District Court, Southern District of New York, are US versus Martin-Artajo, No. 13-cr-00707, and Securities and Exchange Commission versus Martin-Artajo, No. 13-05677.