A market abuse report has been filed against Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan’s CEO, for “spreading false and misleading information” about bitcoin by Blockswater, an algorithmic liquidity provider.
The company complaint to Sweden’s Financial Supervisory Authority, stating Dimon violated Article 12 of the European Union’s Market Abuse Regulation (MAR).
The company says JP Morgan’s CEO “knew, or ought to have known, that the information he disseminated was false and misleading.” Information which negatively impacted bitcoin’s “price and reputation.” Florian Schweitzer, managing partner at Blockswater, stated:
“Jamie Dimon’s public assertions did not only affect the reputation of bitcoin, they harmed the interests of some of his own clients and many young businesses that are working hard to create a better financial system.”
Jamie Dimon made headlines across the world after calling bitcoin a “fraud.” A significant fall in bitcoin’s price coincided with his statement, but the extent of any correlation may be difficult to establish as his comments were made around the same time as China cracked down on exchanges.
Shortly after Dimon’s statement, JP Morgan bought 95 bitcoins through a Bitcoin ETN traded on Sweden’s Nasdaq. Leading to allegations of market manipulation.
Market abuse is an umbrella term for both insider dealings and market manipulation according to UK’s Financial Conducts Authority (FCA).
They say there are two types: civil market abuse and criminal. For civil market abuse they can “impose unlimited fines, order injunctions, or prohibit regulated firms or approved persons.” While:
“Criminal sanctions for insider dealing and market manipulation can incur custodial sentences of up to 7 years and unlimited fines.”
Following the banking collapse in 2008, criticisms were raised regarding the lack of imprisonment of any banker despite the biggest crash in a century, with some at the time suggesting bankers were too big to jail as it may lead to another banking crash.
Therefore, whether any action would be taken even if his comments were found to amount to market abuse is unclear. Just as it is quite uncertain whether his comments do actually amount to market manipulation, or whether it is a free speech expression of an honestly held belief.