I Was Fired and Badmouthed For Reporting Kickbacks, Says Ex-JP Morgan Officer

| Jason M. Knott

Tariq Hassan, the former Chief Procurement Officer for JP Morgan Chase (JPMC), is taking the bank to court.  In a suit filed June 15, he claims that JPMC fired him for investigating a “kickback scheme” involving the bank’s vendor management office and IT department.  Then, Hassan says, JPMC’s Chief Executive Officer, Jamie Dimon, and others at JPMC badmouthed him to Citigroup Global Markets when that company was considering hiring him, and Citigroup retaliated further against him for his whistleblowing by not hiring him.

Hassan also claims that he refused requests from JPMC to bribe a Dubai official to secure the release of a JPMC branch manager who was imprisoned in that country on allegations of embezzlement, and to make a gratuitous payment to keep a vendor afloat.  Alleged bribery, kickbacks, and gratuities: all in a day’s work.

No comment yet from JPMC, but one could expect that it will file a “speaking answer”: one in which it doesn’t merely deny the allegations, but makes its own assertions about Hassan’s conduct.  In these kinds of cases, the pleadings often engage in a back-and-forth about not only the alleged retaliatory conduct, but also the employee’s virtues or lack thereof.  Hassan has fired the first shot on this issue, by alleging that he had a “stellar reputation” and received “accolades” in the field of procurement.

Another interesting note: Hassan first took his case to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, but the agency didn’t make a decision within 180 days of his initial filing, so he removed the case to federal court as permitted by the OSHA statute.

We’ll keep an eye on Hassan’s case as it develops.