Pension funds from Arkansas, Ohio, Oregon and Sweden will be lead plaintiffs in a group lawsuit against J.P. Morgan Chase over trades made by Bruno Iksil, known as the “London Whale.”
U.S. District Judge George Daniels in New York ruled Tuesday that lawsuits against the New York-based bank should be consolidated into a class action. The pension funds allege they lost as much as $52 million because of fraudulent activities by J.P. Morgan's London chief investment office.
The lead plaintiffs are the $74 billion Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, $63.8 billion Ohio State Teachers' Retirement System, $10.4 billion Ohio School Employees Retirement System, $58.4 billion Oregon Public Employee Retirement Fund, $11.3 billion Arkansas Teacher Retirement System, and Sweden's $14 billion AP7 fund.
“The public pension funds, a group which includes some of the largest public pension funds in the world, have far and away the 'largest financial interest' in the relief sought by the class in these cases,” said Gerald Silk, a lawyer with Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, Aug. 9 in court papers.
J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon said in July the firm's chief investment office had $5.8 billion in losses on the trades so far, and the figure may climb by $1.7 billion in a worst-case scenario. Mr. Iksil amassed positions in credit derivatives so big and market-moving he became known as the London Whale.
The pension funds allege they sustained losses after being given false information that hid the nature of the bank's trades.
J.P. Morgan spokesman Joe Evangelisti declined to comment on the judge's ruling.