Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison is advising JPMorgan Chase on a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission probe into the bank’s motivations for hiring the children of top-ranking Chinese officials in Hong Kong, the Financial Times has reported.
The FT report cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter. A Paul Weiss spokesman in Hong Kong declined to comment.
According to the New York Times, which first reported on the investigation over the weekend, the SEC is seeking to determine whether the investment bank hired officials’ children in exchange for lucrative capital markets work.
The SEC is reported seeking information on JPMorgan’s hiring of Tang Xiaoning, the son of Tang Shuangning, chairman of the state-owned China Everbright Group and a former Chinese banking regulator. JPMorgan Chase reportedly received multiple assignments from China Everbright after hiring the younger Tang. The SEC is also looking at the bank’s hiring of Zhang Xixi, the daughter of a Chinese railway official, just before it advised China Railway Group on a $5 billion initial public offering in 2007.
JPMorgan has said that it is cooperating with regulators on the probe.
Paul Weiss has long been a go-to firm for banks and financial institutions in high-profile investigations and litigations. The firm is currently representing hedge fund SAC Capital Partners as it faces insider trading charges in New York. Paul Weiss advised Citibank on litigation stemming from the global financial crisis, including its $285 million settlement with the SEC in 2011 over charges that the bank misled investors to whom it sold mortgage-backed securities.
The firm will presumably handle the matter out of New York. The firm has so far not expanded its market-leading litigation practice into Asia, where it has relatively small offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo.