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Investments / The Ticker

More details emerge about three bankers who died in six days

Some speculate missing WSJ reporter case shares circumstances

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HousingWire first reported Feb. 1 that three prominent bankers were found dead in apparent suicides spanning the course of just six days.

Since then, details emerged about the work of the three that suggests at least a passing commonality – that is, the institutions they worked for were all connected to investigations in the United States or the United Kingdom for various types of fraud or misconduct.

Former Federal Reserve economist Mike Dueker, 50, was found dead in an apparent suicide near Tacoma, Washington on Jan. 31. Dueker was chief economist at Russell Investments.

On Jan. 26, William Broeksmit, 58, a former senior manager for Deutsche Bank, was found hanging in his home, also an apparent suicide.

On Jan. 28, Gabriel Magee, 39, vice president at JPMorgan Chase (JPM) London headquarters, apparently jumped to his death from a building in the Canary Wharf area.

New York state Department of Financial Services subpoenaed Russell Investment as well as other major firms in November 2013 as part of an investigation by Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky into how the firm’s handle investment proposals, compensation practices, relationships with money managers and investment tracking practices.

Lawsky is the same regulator who on Thursday put an indefinite hold on a $2.7 billion MSR deal between Ocwen Financial Corp. (OCN) and Wells Fargo (WFC). Lawsky has been described in press reports as "an enforcer with zeal."

The New York Times wrote on Nov. 5 that “regulators appeared to be trying to learn whether any consultants were being paid by the firms they recommended, including in-kind payments or job offers.”

Broeksmit, a top executive at Deutsche Bank who had retired in 2013, had been found hanged in his home in the South Kensington section of London, according to London newspapers.

Global regulators are currently investigating Deutsche Bank for allegedly rigging foreign exchange markets. It settled similar charges in 2013 over involvement in the manipulation of the Libor interest rate benchmark.

Two days after Broeksmit’s death, former Deutsche Bank risk analyst Eric Ben-Artzi spoke at Auburn University in Alabama, alleging that Deutsche hid $10 billion in losses during the financial crisis.  Other whistleblowers have come forward with similar allegations.

Magee’s employer, JPMorgan, is under investigation by U.S. legislators for misconduct in physical commodities markets in both the U.S. and U.K. JPMorgan is currently under investigation for the same kind of alleged involvement in manipulating foreign exchange rates as Deutsche Bank.

Magee’s parents have told the London Evening Standard that they don’t believe their son would commit suicide, and they have raised troubling questions about how their son was able to access the roof from which he is said to have jumped to his death.

Meanwhile, among those following developments in these deaths, there is chatter about the disappearance of another Wall Street regular, veteran Wall Street Journal oil commodities markets reporter David Bird.

The markets Bird covers are currently under investigation by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for physical commodities manipulation. His family tells the New York Daily News that they are concerned his disappearance may be connected to his investigative coverage of OPEC.

Bird has been missing since Jan. 11. Bird told family he was going for a hike and left his New Jersey home without critical daily medication he takes. Five days after he disappeared, a credit card in his name was used in Mexico.

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