Updated from 10 a.m. EST to add decline to comment from JPMorgan.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With JPMorgan Chase (JPM) facing continued scrutiny over hiring practices in China, it seems an opportune time to revisit an intriguing e-mail from 2008 which gave us some insight into the view of CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon regarding doing business in the world's second-largest economy.
The internal company e-mail from a JPMorgan investment banker, which surfaced in 2010 amid a legal battle between the bank and creditors of Washington Mutual, recounted a wide-ranging conversation between Dimon and Banco Santander (SAN) Chairman Emilio Botin. The two bank bosses spoke so freely about companies around the world they wanted to buy that Ian Ayres, an economics and law professor at Yale University, argued the Justice Department should open an antitrust inquiry.
It seems reasonably safe to assume no such inquiry was ever opened -- possibly because JPMorgan, for whatever reason, wasn't as appealing a target at the time as it appears to be now.
In case the Justice Department -- or the Federal Trade Commission, which may have broader powers, according to another antitrust expert I interviewed at the time -- might still be convinced to take an interest in the email, here was the juicy part:
"It is important to have an open dialogue with them, as Santander would not pursue any of these opportunities if JPMorgan were to do the same (can't compete on price with JPMorgan for an acquisition in the USA). But Santander would probably hire JPMorgan as advisor if we are not going after them."