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Supreme Court rules that FCA did not identify banker in “London Whale” report

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) did not identify a banker in a critical assessment of JP Morgan Chase Bank.

In the Court’s judgment, it said the FCA did not identify Achilles Macris in a decision notice when it fined the New York-based bank £137.6 million.

Mr Macris, the bank’s international chief investment officer, claimed that the FCA identified him in a report relating to the “London Whale” trading controversy without giving him the chance to defend himself.

The report dates back to trading losses suffered by the bank’s Synthetic Credit Portfolio, amounting to £4.9 billion by the end of 2012.

The loss, headed by team leader Mr Macris, came to be known as the “London Whale” trading losses.

But Supreme Court justice Lord Sumption said none of the language used by the FCA as synonym’s for Mr Macris would have identified him to the general public.

“The real question is whether the terms of the notice itself would have conveyed to a reasonable member of the public without extrinsic information that any of these terms was a synonym for Mr Macris. Plainly it would not,” he said.

Lord Neuberger, president of the Supreme Court, supported the decision.

He said a specific law prevented the FCA from identifying an individual, but that did not mean they could not be identifiable.

He said: “The fact that Mr Macris could be identified by reference to a publicly available US Senate committee report would not do because a member of the public would not know of that report, and anyway would not think of referring to it for the purpose of identifying Mr Macris as the individual referred to in the notice in this case.”

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ELS Legal is an international law firm based in London with more than 50 partner offices across the world. As part of the Cathay Associates global legal network, we are the first choice law firm for a number of British businesses and overseas clients.

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