An investigation into American investment bank JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s hiring-related nepotism in China has now expanded to other Asian countries after an “internal spreadsheet that linked appointments to specific deals pursued by the bank” was found, Bloomberg News reported.
What started with the scrutiny of two specific Chinese candidates has now spread across the region, where the bank has operated for over a century. The bank is also conducting an internal investigation, reviewing the employment of 200 interns and full-time workers.
The bribery probe in to why JPMorgan hired the sons and daughters of influential Chinese officials, under a program meant to protect dealings in China, came to light when the bank made a reference to the inquiry in its latest quarterly 10-Q filing.
The U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had initially questioned the hiring of two specific candidates: the son of a bank regulator, who is now chairman of state-owned financial company China Everbright Group, and the daughter of an official at state-owned China Railway Group, according to a confidential federal government document.
JPMorgan or the associated individuals have not been accused of any illegal actions, however, the bank may have violated the U.S Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits a company from currying personal favors with government officials or decision-makers in return for business, the New York Times reported.
“While the hire of a son or daughter itself is not illegal, red flags would be raised if the person hired was not qualified for the position, or, for example, if a firm never received business before and then, lo and behold, the hire brought in business,” Michael Koehler, an expert on the corrupt practices act who is an assistant professor at the Southern Illinois University School of Law told the New York Times.