JPMorgan is sued over Mexican property transfer

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Mexican property developer has filed a $1.2 billion lawsuit accusing JPMorgan Chase & Co (N:JPM) of fraudulently inducing it to transfer properties with different false promise it may well sell them.

The complaint by Elias Sacal Cababie and the BVG World SA was filed with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Monday, in 24 hours BVG said a Mexican judge had issued an arrest warrant for JPMorgan's country head, Eduardo Cepeda, for alleged fraud in connection with a 2007 loan.

In a emailed statement on Tuesday, JPMorgan said the allegations of wrongdoing in the complaint had no merit, and added: "This is a part of a procedure by Mr. Sacal geared towards avoiding fulfillment of financial obligations."

The bank had on Monday said the accusations associated with Cepeda also had no merit, which was working with its lawyers "to respond to this need for justice being served."

A lawyer for Sacal, Stephen Meister, inside an email stated it was JPMorgan that’s endeavoring to avoid its obligations to his client.

According to your complaint, Sacal and BVG transferred vast sums of dollars of property to JPMorgan in September 2012, expecting to use sale proceeds to a $99 million loan along with other small business ventures.

But the plaintiffs said JPMorgan "never created to fulfill its promise" and took control of the properties to "exact revenge," including by collecting higher cost and interest, while in the wake of economic disputes they thought was resolved in 2010.

They also said JPMorgan sought to injure Sacal's reputation by "badmouthing" him to business peers, like the alleged use by a few executives of anti-Semitic slurs when mentioning Sacal, that is Jewish.

Monday's complaint accuses JPMorgan of fraud, unjust enrichment, defamation, civil racketeering and other wrongdoing. It seeks $400 million of damages on some claims, and triple that amount around the racketeering claim.

The case is Sacal et al v JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 18-05249.