SEC Bribery Unit Investigating JPMorgan Chase, Report Says (Update 2)

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Securities and Exchange Commission's anti-bribery unit has opened an investigation into the practices of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) in China, The New York Times reported Saturday.

The Times, citing a confidential U.S. government document, said the inquiry centered on whether the bank had hired the children of Chinese officials to help it gain business in China.

JPMorgan is said to have hired the son of a former Chinese banking regulator who is the chairman of the China Everbright Group, a state-controlled financial conglomerate, The Times reported. After the son's hiring, the bank won assignments from the Chinese conglomerate.

In another case, The Times said, JPMorgan's office in Hong Kong hired the daughter of a Chinese railway official who was detained on accusations of awarding government contracts in exchange for cash bribes.

The former official's daughter joined JPMorgan just as a state-controlled construction company that builds railways for the Chinese government was selecting the New York-based bank to advise it on going public.

The Times said JPMorgan had referred to the investigation in its quarterly filing this month, stating that the SEC had sought information about the bank's "employment of certain former employees in Hong Kong and its business relationships with certain clients."

JPMorgan Chase issued a statement on Sunday, saying, "We publicly disclosed this matter in our 10-Q filing on Aug. 7, and are fully cooperating with regulators," according to The Associated Press.

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This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.

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