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April 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The board of trustees of AFTRA’s retirement plan has accused JP Morgan Chase of engaging in a scheme that cost the broadcast performers’ union $2-3 million while at the same time netting the bank itself more than $1.9 billion. Details of the federal lawsuit, which was filed two years ago, were disclosed by the New York Times, which cited documents unsealed in the case in March. In them, AFTRA, the lead plantiff with two other pension plans, claims that the bank put $500 million of client assets in an “offshore structured investment vehicle” called Sigma Finance but failed to withdraw the funds despite the bank’s public concern about the safety of the transaction. At the same time, the suit alleges, JPMorgan Chase was collecting nearly $2 billion via secret repurchase agreements. Responding to the suit, the bank said that the transactions occurred behind a “Chinese Wall” that separates its fiduciary and commercial businesses.