'Darth Vader' to head JPMorgan's inquiry into losses by London Whale

Click to follow
The Independent Online

One of America's most notorious oil executives has been selected by JPMorgan to lead the internal inquiry into the $6bn (£3.8bn) of trading losses run up by the so-called London Whale.

Lee Raymond, a 73-year-old who was nicknamed Darth Vader by environmentalists during his 12-year reign at Exxon, will have the final say on the inquiry and will rule on whether JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon handled the situation properly. Mr Raymond is the longest-serving member of JPMorgan's board, having been there for 25 years.

Mr Raymond could impose various punishments on Mr Dimon, including cutting his pay. He got $23m in 2011. Although Mr Raymond is regarded as a friend and mentor to Mr Dimon he is also said to be fearlessly independent. Mr Raymond is best known for driving Exxon's funding of lobbyists campaigning against climate change while he was in charge between 1993-2005. He is also famous for receiving an extraordinary retirement package worth $400m. That deal emerged in 2006, one year after Exxon made the biggest profit of any company at $36bn.

JPMorgan, until recently seen as one of the few major banks to have escaped the financial crisis relatively free of scandal, has been on the back foot ever since it emerged that one of its traders, Bruno Iksil, the London Whale, had taken huge bets on credit derivatives that were seriously misjudged.

The losses on the portfolio at the London-based Chief Investment Office have more than doubled from the $2bn initially estimated.

According to the Wall Street Journal the panel will check the previous findings of management and will interview company employees.