JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) may be forced to make a deal with federal authorities to avoid criminal prosecution over its handling of accounts of imprisoned swindler Bernie Madoff, The New York Times reported on Thursday.
The newspaper said federal prosecutors and representatives of the bank had held preliminary talks about a deferred prosecution agreement.
Under such an agreement, the government would suspend criminal charges against JPMorgan in exchange for fines and an acknowledgment that the bank could face charges if it misbehaves.
The newspaper said people briefed on the federal inquiry were the source of its report. It said the government has not ruled out requiring JPMorgan's national banking unit to plead guilty to a criminal violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, which mandates the reporting of suspicious activity.