Norton Rose Fulbright successfully defends senior banking executive in multi-jurisdictional criminal and civil proceedings arising out of the JP Morgan “London Whale” case

Business August 31, 2017

In a remarkable move, following over five years of investigations and proceedings in the United States and Europe, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) have dismissed all criminal charges and civil claims against our client, Javier Martin-Artajo, a former senior executive at JP Morgan.1  The allegations related to our client’s conduct in 2012 in connection with what has been referred to in the press as the “London Whale” trading losses.2 

The U.S. government’s decision, which came following four years of civil proceedings involving the disclosure of millions of pages of documents, depositions of over 35 fact witnesses and the government carefully analysing the evidence, completely vindicates Mr Martin-Artajo’s position and reflects the strength of his defence which he has consistently maintained from the outset of this matter in 2012. 

In August 2013, the DoJ issued criminal charges and the SEC filed civil claims against Mr Martin-Artajo.  The DOJ and the SEC announced on 24 June 2017 and 18 August 2017, respectively, that proceedings were voluntarily dismissed against our client with no adverse findings. 

Norton Rose Fulbright’s team in London has represented Mr Martin-Artajo in this case since 2012, which gave rise to complex and challenging cross-border criminal law, civil and regulatory issues.  The co-ordinated navigation of transnational proceedings by partners with deep experience of U.S. and UK criminal and regulatory enforcement agencies included:

  • The reconstruction of a vast factual matrix resulting from the disclosure of over 1.2 million documents, including analysing the trading, valuation and risk metrics of complex financial instruments.
  • The conduct of and participation in a significant number of witness depositions in the U.S. and multiple countries in Europe.
  • Strategic analysis and advice on complex legal issues, including allegations across multiple jurisdictions of mismarking, securities fraud and falsifying books and records.
  • Representation in court proceedings, including hearings in New York, UK ‘Reference’ proceedings relating to the naming of individuals in regulatory enforcement settlements, and extradition in Spain.
  • Engagement with experts in the U.S. and UK in relation to complex financial instruments and cross-border trading.

An integrated, cross-border team was led by Lista Cannon and David Harris (London) and Bill Leone and Felice Galant (New York), partners in the firm’s global regulation and investigations practice, and included significant input from the firm’s investigations and enforcement lawyers in London, New York and Washington, D.C., with support from lawyers in Paris and Athens.  Norton Rose Fulbright lawyers were supported throughout by the firm’s Global Practice Support team based in Houston, which facilitated the review and analysis of millions of pages of evidence in multiple languages.  The team also worked alongside the Cortes law firm in Spain in connection with extradition proceedings issued by the U.S. government and in which the Spanish Courts found in favour of our client in 2015.

The firm’s representation of Mr Martin-Artajo demonstrates the depth and strength of its cross-border investigations and enforcement capabilities in advising senior executives, financial institutions and corporates, with experience in the key financial and regulatory centres of London, New York and Washington, D.C.

The partners who advised on this matter would be pleased to discuss the case and lessons learned with senior executives, financial institutions and corporates in the context of cross-border regulatory investigations and enforcement.

For further information please contact:

Louise Nelson, Senior PR Manager
Tel: +44 (0)20 7444 5086; Mob: +44 (0)7909 684 893 

Notes for editors:

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright is a global law firm. We provide the world’s preeminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. We have more than 4000 lawyers and other legal staff based in more than 50 cities across Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Recognized for our industry focus, we are strong across all the key industry sectors: financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and life sciences and healthcare. Through our global risk advisory group, we leverage our industry experience with our knowledge of legal, regulatory, compliance and governance issues to provide our clients with practical solutions to the legal and regulatory risks facing their businesses.

Wherever we are, we operate in accordance with our global business principles of quality, unity and integrity. We aim to provide the highest possible standard of legal service in each of our offices and to maintain that level of quality at every point of contact.

Norton Rose Fulbright Verein, a Swiss verein, helps coordinate the activities of Norton Rose Fulbright members but does not itself provide legal services to clients. Norton Rose Fulbright has offices in more than 50 cities worldwide, including London, Houston, New York, Toronto, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Sydney and Johannesburg. For more information, see


  1. See for example the Financial Times: “SEC drops probe into JP Morgan Chase traders(18 August 2017)
  2. See for example the BBC: “London Whale traders charged in US over $6.2bn loss(14 August 2013)