Potential Criminal Charges Loom, but JPMorgan May Remain Too Big to Jail

The nation's largest bank will pay $13 billion but still faces criminal charges.

The head office of JPMorgan Chase rises over Park Avenue in midtown Manhattan on July 13, 2012 in New York City.
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Still, the debate over whether to bring criminal charges may pale in importance compared to what's in the terms of a settlement, says Garrett. One bright spot in the HSBC settlement, he notes, is that the judge required independent compliance monitors and quarterly reports to the judge on "all significant developments."

"If there's real accountability under a civil agreement, I'm not sure why that's so different [from a criminal agreement]," he says. "Especially when you see how civil some of those nominally criminal agreements look."

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