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JPMorgan Wins Appeal Against Insurers Over Bear Stearns Settlement

NEW YORK—New York’s highest court ruled on Tuesday that JPMorgan Chase & Co is entitled to insurance coverage for $140 million of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission settlement with the former Bear Stearns Cos over improper mutual fund trading. Reversing a lower court ruling, the Court of Appeals ruled 6-1 that the $140 million derived from estimates of wrongful customer profits and investor harm, and was not a “penalty” that would excuse JPMorgan’s insurers from providing coverage. Bear Stearns had agreed in 2006 to pay a $90 million civil fine and give up $160 million of ill-gotten gains to resolve SEC charges it let favored hedge fund customers conduct market timing and late trading from 1999 to 2003. Market timing involved rapid trading in violation of funds’ rules and at the expense of ordinary investors, while late trading involved illegal after-hours trading at stale prices. Banks, mutual fund firms, …

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