* Court says banker was improperly identified by FCA regulator
* Case could affect future FCA enforcement notices (Adds further cases, lawyer comment)
By Kirstin Ridley
LONDON, May 19 (Reuters) - A former JPMorgan executive who supervised a division that ran up $6.2 billion of losses in the “London Whale” scandal of 2012 has won a second legal challenge against Britain’s regulator in a closely watched court battle.
The Court of Appeal said on Tuesday that although Achilles Macris had not been named, he had been improperly identified when the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) fined JPMorgan almost 140 million pounds ($217 million) in 2013 over huge bets by former trader Bruno Iksil.
The case has been closely watched by other traders, who also believe they have been identified in FCA notices, prejudiced and not given a right of reply, and the latest decision could have implications for how much detail the FCA can publish in enforcement notices.
Christian Bittar, a former Deutsche Bank trader, is among those to also have challenged the watchdog about being allegedly improperly identified in an enforcement notice against a company, one source familiar with the situation said.
The German lender was fined $2.5 billion by U.S. and British authorities in April as part of a global investigation into alleged benchmark interest rate rigging.
“The FCA hasn’t taken a blind bit of notice of due process,” said one London lawyer, who declined to be named, adding that the regulator had run “roughshod” over individuals and ruined reputations unnecessarily.
The FCA, which could yet appeal to the Supreme Court, said only: “We are considering the judgment carefully.”
Macris, a Greek citizen, ran the London division of JPMorgan’s Chief Investment Office (CIO) when Iksil, nicknamed “the London Whale” for his outsized derivatives trades, stacked up eyewatering losses. His job title was International Chief Investment Officer.
In its enforcement notice, the FCA said that “by virtue of the conduct of the CIO London management”, JPMorgan had deliberately misled the regulator.
Arguing that the term “CIO London management” had been intentionally used to refer specifically to him, rather than a corporate body, Macris contended that a series of FCA notices identified him and were clearly prejudicial to him, and yet he had had no opportunity to contest the allegations.
A secondary process should now start automatically to decide whether the criticisms against him are valid, his lawyer at Clifford Chance said.
JPMorgan, whose Chief Executive Jamie Dimon initially dismissed the London Whale incident as a ‘tempest in a teapot’, was fined more than $1 billion by U.S. and British regulators.
Iksil’s former boss Javier Martin-Artajo and junior trader Julien Grout were indicted by U.S. authorities on five charges each, including securities fraud and conspiracy. Iksil has been cooperating with U.S. authorities and has not faced charges.
U.S. prosecutors said earlier this month their efforts to extradite Martin-Artajo from Spain had hit a dead end. Grout lives in France, a country that does not extradite its citizens.
Macris was Martin-Artajo’s supervisor.
$1 = 0.6465 pounds Additional reporting by Jamie McGeever, editing by Keith Weir and Mark Trevelyan