JP Morgan loses top litigation lawyer to Union Bank

JP Morgan litigation and government investigations lawyer, Michael Coyne, has left the bank to become general counsel of Union Bank and its holding company, UnionBanCal Corp.

According to a statement released by Union Bank on Monday (26 August 2013), Coyne joined JP Morgan’s New York office in 1994 and was appointed associate general counsel in 2004. In 2010 he was also appointed co-head of litigation alongside senior vice president Jill Centella, with the pair responsible for all of litigation and governmental investigation matters affecting the bank’s businesses. 

His exit comes amid a number of allegations against JP Morgan, including a bribery investigation into claims that the bank hired the children of high-level Chinese officials to gain business in C hina.

Sources close to the matter told The Lawyer last week (22 August 2013) that the bank had appointed King & Wood Mallesons (KWM), Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) and Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison to assist it in the government investigation, as well as conducting an internal investigation to come to grips with the depth of the situation.

Other allegations to have hit the bank include a trading scandal over the reporting of losses from a trader nicknamed the “London Whale,” after the alleged altering of bank records cost the bank $6bn (£3.9bn). The direct supervisor to the “London Whale” trader was arrested in Spain yesterday (28 August 2013) in connection to the charges.

Coyne replaces retiring general counsel Morris Hirsch at Union Bank and will be based in San Francisco, reporting to CEO Masashi Oka.

His role will see him responsible for all corporate litigation and government affairs functions as well as legal oversight of mergers and acquisitions, regulatory matters, securities and credit transactions and all of the bank’s internal and external legal support.

UnionBanCal Corp is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japan’s largest bank, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi.