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Buffett supports JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon

Warren Buffett, above, believes JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon

Warren Buffett, above, believes JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon will withstand litigation and legal probes that led the bank to take a $7.2 billion third quarter charge. (Sept. 19, 2013) Photo Credit: Bloomberg

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon will withstand litigation and legal probes that led his bank to take a $7.2 billion third quarter charge.

"If a cop follows you for 500 miles, you're going to get a ticket," Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said Wednesday in a CNBC interview. "And believe me, you've had a lot of cops that have been following a long time, and they're going to write some tickets."

Dimon, 57, is grappling with regulatory investigations ranging from mortgage-bond sales practices to hiring methods in Asia. The Manhattan-based bank is also tightening controls amid probes into botched credit-derivative trades last year.

Banks rely on so many licenses that the threat of criminal charges can undermine their business, Buffett said. Buffett served as interim chairman and CEO of Salomon Inc. in 1991 and 1992 as the company sought to recover from involvement in a Treasury debt auction scandal.

"A large financial institution just can't take that," he said. "You are in a terrible negotiating position, and I've been in that position. If they want to take a pound of flesh, they can take a pound of flesh. But if they want to take a ton of flesh, they can take that, too."

Last week in a conference call with analysts, Dimon noted, "It is very hard to fight with your regulators or the federal government, but we want them to be fair and reasonable."

Buffett, 83, has said he owns shares of JPMorgan. Berkshire holds stakes in some other big banks.

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