JP Morgan Under Civil/Criminal Investigation for Trades in Silver Pit

The NYPost reports that JPMorgan (JPM) is under criminal and civil investigation by the federal authorities in regard to trading in the Precious Metals Markets.

According to The Post, both investigations are centered on whether or not JPMorgan, a global financial services firm with assets of more than $2 trillion, conspired to depress the price of silver.

The investigations, which are being conducted by the Commodities Futures Trade Commission [CFTC] and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division [DOJ], handling the civil and criminal probe respectively, are, according to the Post sources, “far-ranging” with feds looking into JPMorgan’s precious metals trading activity on the London Bullion Market Association’s exchange, and the NYMEX for future paper derivative trades.

JPMoragn is a major holder of precious-metals derivatives. The bank increased its silver derivative holdings by nearly $7 billion, or about 220 million ounces, during the last quarter of 2009, according to the Office of Comptroller of the Currency.

Regulators are pulling trading tickets on JPMorgan’s precious metals moves on all the exchanges as part of the investigation. The DOJ, CFTC and JPMorgan all declined to comment, the Post said.

Needless to day, the weeks ahead are going to be interesting for JPM.

Shares of JPMorgan Chase finished Friday ah at $40.90.

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