JPMorgan Chase's hiring of the son of a Chinese commerce minister is being scrutinised by investigators looking at whether the bank improperly hired relatives of government officials to win influence and business.
People familiar with the matter said Gao Jue, known on Wall Street as Joe Gao, was among various hirings at JPMorgan and other banks that are being examined for possible violations of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. JPMorgan is expected to pay a penalty to settle the allegations later this year, according to other people familiar with the case.
Mr Gao, who is now employed by Goldman Sachs, started working full-time at JPMorgan in 2007 in spite of negative reviews from colleagues, which were revealed in emails published on Friday by the Wall Stret Journal.
In a 2008 email, Fang Fang, then chief executive of JPMorgan China, wrote to Gaby Abdelnour, then the bank's head of Asia, to say that Gao Hucheng, the China vice-minister for commerce, had "spent [a] long time explaining to me why it is important for the son to find another position within JPM . . . because he is desperate to maintain his hard-won H1-B visa which is under JPM sponsorship".
"The father indicated to me repeatedly that he is willing to go extra miles to help JPM in whatever way we think he can," the email continued. "And I do have a few cases where I think we can leverage the father's connection." The junior Mr Gao and Mr Fang could not immediately be reached for comment. JPMorgan and Goldman declined to comment.