Diller to Feds: Show us the JPMorgan money
Speaking at the Dealbook conference aired on CNBC, Diller chided the government's efforts to put the squeeze on the largest U.S. bank. "You can't run a business like that without having all sorts of issues." JPMorgan and the Department of Justice are thrashing out a $13 billion settlement to resolve outstanding mortgage-related litigation.
The billionaire entrepreneur also questioned whether it was advisable for federal officials to deprive the bank of billions of dollars in a proposed settlement, which would effectively siphon money away from shareholders.
"What I want to know about the $13 billion is: Where is it actually going? A relatively small portion of it goes to people who were actually harmed," Diller said. "The vast majority of it goes to the government."
Diller said JPMorgan's problems were in part a legacy of the deals it struck at the height of the 2008 financial pandemic. Swallowing Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual--both of which JPMorgan absorbed at fire sale prices--was "the right thing", Diller said. He added that the bank has changed many of the practices that has created legal, regulatory and risk-management headaches for the bank.
JPMorgan "got banged for a whole series of reasons, some of which i'm not sure are legitimate," Diller said. He called the bank's chief, Jamie Dimon, a "superb CEO" who is an "honest and decent man."