It turns out karma is a very real thing. Not too long ago, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon called Bitcoin a tool for money laundering and made some other less-than-flattering comments about the world’s leading cryptocurrency. Karma has come a-knocking for Dimon’s institution, as one of its subsidiaries has since been sanctioned for money laundering and violating supervision laws. Perhaps they should have used Bitcoin after all?
JPMorgan and Money Laundering
It is always funny to see banks try to label Bitcoin as a tool used by criminals to facilitate fraud, money laundering, and even terrorist financing. In the end, however, these activities are always facilitated by banks and other financial institutions first and foremost. The involvement of Bitcoin in any of those areas is virtually non-existent right now. JPMorgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon may feel otherwise, but that is his opinion alone, by the look of things.
Things took an interesting turn yesterday when one of JPMorgan’s subsidiaries was charged with money laundering. FINMA, the Swiss financial regulator, handed down this punishment on the Swiss subsidiary of the major bank. Moreover, it found evidence indicating the subsidiary had “seriously violated supervision laws.” It is not the first time this institution has found itself in hot water over money laundering and the violation of supervision laws either.
The new sanction imposed by FINMA involves due diligence in connection with money laundering standards. As a matter of fact, JPMorgan Chase was found to have participated in such activity several months ago. Since then, the bank has done everything it could to prevent this news from being shared with the public. What drove its decision to do so, and how this was possible in the first place, both remain big unknowns at this point in time.
What we do know for certain is that the Swiss subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase was actively engaged in criminal money laundering. It’s a disturbing development for one of the world’s biggest banks, especially given the recent comments by Jamie Dimon on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In response, the firm claims to have made “constant enhancements to our AML program.” It is evident this organizations has a lot of skeletons in the closet, and it continues to cover its tracks whenever possible.
All of this raises the question as to whether or not JPMorgan Chase tried to use Bitcoin as a tool to circumvent Swiss anti-money laundering regulations. If so, it shows the banks should be blamed for using Bitcoin in an illegal way. Bitcoin itself is not regulation-agnostic, as users make the final decisions as to how to spend their money in the end. Rest assured the Bitcoin community will have a few interesting things to say about this incident involving JPMorgan Chase, even though it is “only” the Swiss subsidiary which is at fault here.
Money laundering is a very serious offense that needs to be punished as such. There is no valid reason for any bank or other financial institution to partake in this illegal activity, let alone do so willingly. Had this been done using Bitcoin, the government would have easily traced the transactions and everything would be out in the open. It’s a very dubious decision on the part of JPMorgan; that much is evident.