By Pam Martens: February 9, 2014
London Police have confirmed that an official investigation is underway into the death of a 39-year old JPMorgan Vice President whose body was found on the 9th floor rooftop of a JPMorgan building in Canary Wharf two weeks ago.
The news reports at the time of the incident of Gabriel (Gabe) Magee’s “non suspicious” death by “suicide” resulting from his reported leap from the 33rd level rooftop of JPMorgan’s European headquarters building in London have turned out to be every bit as reliable as CEO Jamie Dimon’s initial response to press reports on the London Whale trading scandal in 2012 as a “tempest in a teapot.”
An intense investigation is now underway into the details of exactly how Magee died and why his death was so quickly labeled “non suspicious.” An upcoming Coroner’s inquest will reveal the details of that investigation.
It’s becoming clear that when JPMorgan tells us “nothing to see here, move along,” that’s the precise time we need to bring in the blood hounds and law enforcement with the guts to get past this global behemoth’s army of lawyers who have a penchant for taking over investigations and producing their own milquetoast reports of what happened.
Jamie Dimon’s so-called “tempest in a teapot” in the London Whale matter morphed into $6.2 billion in bank depositor losses, $1 billion in fines to JPMorgan, 300 pages of scandalous details by the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations that called into question JPMorgan’s risk controls and the integrity of upper management, and, finally, resulted in criminal charges against two of the men involved. The criminal cases have yet to go to trial.
According to numerous sources close to the investigation of Gabriel Magee’s death, almost nothing thus far reported about his death has been accurate. This appears to stem from an initial poorly worded press release issued by the Metropolitan Police in London which may have been a result of bad communications between it and JPMorgan or something more deliberate on someone’s part.
The Metropolitan Police have provided me with their original press release. It reads:
“Police were called at approximately 08.02 hrs on Tuesday 28 January to reports of a man having fallen from a building at 25 Bank Street, E14 and landing on a ninth floor roof. London Ambulance Service and London Air Ambulance attended. The man was pronounced dead at the scene a short while later. The deceased is believed to be aged 39. We believe we know the identity of the deceased but await formal identification. Next of kin have been informed. No arrests have been made and the death is being treated as non-suspicious.”
That press release resulted in CNBC running with this headline: “Death Plunge at JP Morgan Tower Not Suspicious, Police Say.” Dozens of other media followed with similar reporting.
The Independent newspaper in London flatly stated that Magee “died after falling from the roof.” The London Evening Standard tweeted: “Bankers watch JP Morgan IT exec fall to his death from roof of London HQ,” which linked to their article which declared in its opening sentence that “A man plunged to his death from a Canary Wharf tower in front of thousands of horrified commuters today.”
At this moment in time, police have yet to produce a single witness who saw Magee jump from the rooftop of this building, let alone “thousands of horrified commuters.” (Exactly why would thousands of horrified commuters be standing in front of 25 Bank Street at 8:02 a.m. with their necks tilted up toward the roof? Magee did not land on the sidewalk; his body was found on a rooftop 9 floors above street level.) Both the Independent and London Evening Standard newspapers are majority owned by Alexander Lebedev, a Russian and former KGB agent.
No one in the media seemed to notice that Iain Dey, Deputy Business Editor of the Sunday Times in London, flatly disputed the notion that a plunge from the rooftop had been observed by anyone when he reported that: “Gabriel Magee’s body lay for several hours before it was found at 8am last Tuesday.”
The only facts in this case which are currently reliable are that fellow workers looking from their windows in the building noticed a body lying on the 9th level rooftop, which juts out from the main 33-story building, at around 8:02 a.m. on Tuesday, January 28, and called the police. There is no concrete proof at this moment in time that Magee fell, jumped or was ever on the 33-story rooftop, which is a highly secured area of the building unobtainable by employees other than top security and maintenance personnel. According to design documents that have been publicly filed, the rooftop functions as a highly sophisticated cooling plant with large, bulky machinery taking up the majority of the space on the side of the building from which Magee would have had to jump in order to land on the 9th level rooftop.
No solid evidence exists currently to suggest that the death was a suicide. In fact, there is a strong piece of evidence pointing in the opposite direction. Magee had emailed his girlfriend, Veronica, on the evening of January 27 to say that he was about to leave the office and would see her shortly. She received no further emails from him, suggesting that whatever happened to Magee happened shortly thereafter, not the next morning. According to multiple sources, Magee’s girlfriend reported his disappearance on the evening of January 27. The Metropolitan Police would provide me with no details on that investigation.
The JPMorgan building at 25 Bank Street is located in the borough of Tower Hamlets. According to drawings and plans submitted by JPMorgan to the borough after it purchased the building for £495 million in 2010, the 9th floor roof is accessible “via the stair from level 8 within the existing Level 9 plant enclosure…” In other words, it would be just as reasonable to entertain the possibility that Magee suffered his physical injuries inside the building and his body was placed on the 9th level rooftop via an internal staircase access sometime during the night of January 27.
The LinkedIn profile that Magee set up for himself online indicates that he was involved with “Technical architecture oversight for planning, development, and operation of systems for fixed income securities and interest rate derivatives.” As a key part of the computer technology group in London, Magee may have been involved in providing subpoenaed material for the London Whale investigation and the myriad other investigations that JPMorgan has been sanctioned and fined for over the last year. There are two serious open investigations into foreign exchange rigging and potential manipulation of commodities markets.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) lists the man known as the London Whale, Bruno Iksil, who is cooperating with criminal prosecutors, and the two traders who have been criminally charged with hiding hundreds of millions of dollars in losses, Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout, as having the same JPMorgan address, 25 Bank Street, as did Gabriel Magee.
Documents produced by the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, however, show a 2012 address for JPMorgan’s Chief Investment Office in London, supposedly where the London Whale trades were originating, as 100 Wood Street, 6th Floor, London. If the London Whale traders were located at an address other than the European Headquarters for JPMorgan, it could have been to evade detection by regulators that the firm was using bank deposits in the United States, that carried FDIC insurance, to place high risk gambles in London in the derivatives market.
The Senate’s 300-page report noted that key traders involved in the London Whale matter, including Iksil, Martin-Artajo, and Grout, refused to submit to interviews by the Senate investigators. The Senate report notes that “their refusal to provide information to the Subcommittee meant that this Report had to be prepared without their direct input. The Subcommittee relied instead on their internal emails, recorded telephone conversations and instant messages, internal memoranda and presentations, and interview summaries prepared by the bank’s internal investigation, to reconstruct what happened.”
If Magee became aware that incriminating emails, instant messages, or video teleconferences were not turned over in their entirety to Senate investigators or Justice Department prosecutors, that might be reason enough for his untimely death. Yes, this is speculation. But it is along the lines that smart thinking investigators need to intensely explore to bring peace of mind and answers to Gabriel Magee’s loved ones and coworkers.