Winters Tells PBS Banks Misled Cities Such as Cassino on Swaps

Bill Winters, the former co-chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)’s investment bank, said banks misled municipal officials into buying derivatives they didn’t understand.

Asked in an interview on PBS Frontline’s “Money, Power and Wall Street” if he held banks responsible for leading less sophisticated investors such as the Italian city of Cassino down the wrong path, he concurred.

“Because of the opaqueness of derivatives, it was probably easier to abuse in some cases,” said Winters, who left JPMorgan in 2009. “It obviously doesn’t cover the profession in glory.”

Cassino, an Italian town that entered an interest rate swap with Bear Stearns Cos. in 2003, was left with a 577,000-euro ($760,000) loss after reaching a settlement with JPMorgan, which bought Bear Stearns in 2008, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News under a court ruling.

Winters didn’t return calls and e-mail seeking comment. Officials at JPMorgan in Milan couldn’t immediately comment on Winters’s remarks.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisa Martinuzzi in Milan at emartinuzzi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net

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