Bloomberg News

JPMorgan Says E-Mails Sought in Energy Probe Involve Lawyers

July 13, 2012

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM:US) said e-mails sought by U.S. regulators in a probe of potential energy-market manipulation are communications involving the advice of its attorneys and shouldn’t be turned over.

JPMorgan, in a filing today in federal court in Washington, said the 25 e-mails were sent after the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission opened its investigation and after the bank hired outside counsel to respond to the probe.

“Each of the e-mails relates to the advice of counsel with respect to the investigation -- not the adoption of the bidding practices under investigation,” Michele Roberts, a lawyer for JPMorgan, wrote in the filing. “The only possible use the commission could make of the e-mails would be to peer into the details of respondent’s legal strategy.”

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sued JPMorgan on July 2 to release the e-mails in an investigation of possible manipulation of power markets in California and the Midwest by J.P. Morgan Ventures Energy Corp. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly gave JPMorgan until today to explain why the e-mails shouldn’t be turned over to investigators.

New York-based JPMorgan submitted copies of the e-mails to the court today so they can be examined by a judge, according to the filing.

FERC opened the probe in August after complaints from California and Midwest grid operators that JPMorgan’s bidding practices were abusive, according to the agency’s initial court filing.

Jennifer Zuccarelli, a JPMorgan spokeswoman, and Mary O’Driscoll, a FERC spokeswoman, declined to comment on today’s filing.

The case is Federal Energy Regulatory Commission v. J.P. Morgan Ventures Energy Corp., 12-mc-352, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Schoenberg in Washington at tschoenberg@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.


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