U.S. Justice official who led bank mortgage probes to leave

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 03, 2014 4:41 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Tony West, a senior U.S. Justice Department official who oversaw investigations into bank mortgage practices tied to the 2007-2009 financial crisis and negotiated more than $36 billion in payouts, is leaving the agency.

The Justice Department said West's departure was effective Sept. 15.

Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement that West's tenure was "marked by significant achievement" including fighting financial fraud and advocating on behalf of Native Americans.

West, a California native and early supporter of then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, came to the Justice Department in 2009 to lead the civil division, and was later promoted to the position of associate attorney general.

He helped coordinate state and federal investigations into mortgage securities that banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp had sold in the run-up to the financial crisis.

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West negotiated settlements worth more than $36 billion with the three banks over allegations that they misled investors who bought the securities. The financial institutions had initially proposed resolving their cases for much smaller amounts.

(Reporting by Julia Edwards and Aruna Viswanatha; Editing by Paul Simao)