“We are dead I tell you,” Bruno Iksil, a London-based trader at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), messaged an associate on March 23, 2012. “It is hopeless now.”
Iksil, a Frenchman who would soon become known as the London Whale because of the size of his trades, had lost $44 million on corporate-credit bets three days earlier and was down more than $500 million for the year, Bloomberg Markets will report in its July issue. He and junior trader Julien Grout, under pressure from their manager, had tried to hide the extent of losses that would swell to more than $6.2 billion, the bank’s biggest trading blunder ever.
“They are going to destroy us,” Iksil wrote to Grout that Friday in one of hundreds of e-mails, instant messages, transcripts of recorded conversations and other documents released in March by the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations after a nine-month probe.
In a 301-page report and at a hearing, the panel accused the largest and most profitable U.S. bank of hiding losses, deceiving regulators and misinforming investors.
The report, the bank’s own 129-page account and interviews with traders and current and former executives offer evidence of a widening spiral of panic as the losses became known beyond a small circle of traders and the extent of the damage reached top management, including Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon.
Dimon’s Reputation The saga of the Lo...