Jamie Dimon vs. John Varley: ‘Two Big-time Bankers in a Very Big Dispute’

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Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images, Oli Scarff/Getty Images

JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon has accused Barclays CEO John Varely of shortchanging his bank to the tune of $11 billion. Back in September '08, he said, when Barclay's purchased a unit of Lehman Brothers, a JP Morgan client, Barclays told them it actually wasn't worth as much as they thought, because of "a deterioration in market prices." In fact, Dimon said, this was not the case, and Varely was being misleading. Yesterday in court, Varely responded by saying, essentially, "I know you are but what am I."

Dimon was the one being slippery, he said, because do you know what JP Morgan did? They just went into their custodial account at Barclays and helped themselves to $7 billion, and now he (Jamie, that snake) is trying to distract everyone from that little fact! A Lehman Brothers lawyer rightly characterized the whole thing as "two bigtime bankers in a very big dispute," and then Varely was like, I GUESS, and added he hoped he and Dimon could've settled the matter like "two adults."

Then he refused to say aloud that Dimon was more important than he was.


On the stand, Varley was in no mood to cede seniority to Dimon. Lehman's lawyer, Robert Gaffey, asked him: "Jamie Dimon is a substantial figure in the banking world, isn't he?"

The Barclays boss replied: "He has the same rank in his bank as I have in mine."

Varley deadpanned: "I didn't ask for that compliment, Mr Gaffey, but thank you."

That's how big-time bankers act. Like little kids.

No love lost between Barclays' John Varley and JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon [Guardian UK]