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JPMorgan agrees to pay $15.7 million to settle spoofing lawsuit

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FILE PHOTO: JPMorgan Chase & Co corporate headquarters in New York
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By Chris Prentice and Jonathan Stempel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co agreed to pay $15.7 million in cash to settle a class action lawsuit by investors who accused the largest U.S. bank of intentionally manipulating prices of U.S. Treasury futures and options.

The settlement disclosed late Wednesday night stemmed from sprawling U.S. government investigations into illegal trading in futures and precious metals markets, known as spoofing.

JPMorgan did not admit wrongdoing in agreeing to the settlement, which covers traders in Treasury futures and options from April 2008 to January 2016 and requires approval by a federal judge in Manhattan.

Last September, JPMorgan entered a deferred prosecution agreement and agreed to pay $920, including a $436 million criminal fine, to settle U.S. government probes into spoofing in Treasuries and precious metals. The bank also agreed to self-report future violations. Spoofing is a practice in which traders place orders they intend to cancel, hoping to move prices to benefit their market positions. The Justice Department has employed sophisticated data analysis tools to spot potential spoofing that it could not previously detect.

The $15.7 million payout would recover less than one-third of the estimated classwide damages, a court filing shows. Lawyers for the traders plan to seek up to one-third of thesettlement, or about $5.2 million, to cover legal fees.

(Reporting by Chris Prentice and Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)