JPMorgan’s Greek Fintech Unicorn Draws Regulatory Blitz

Viva Wallet has been in the crosshairs of financial regulators across Europe—and the company has repeatedly fired or pushed out compliance employees who have raised concerns.

Left to right: Kyriakos Mitsotakis, prime minister of Greece; Haris Karonis, CEO of Viva Wallet; and Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase. Photos by Getty.
Left to right: Kyriakos Mitsotakis, prime minister of Greece; Haris Karonis, CEO of Viva Wallet; and Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase. Photos by Getty.
July 24, 2023 6:00 AM PDT

When JPMorgan Chase signed a deal last year to buy 49% of Greek payments fintech Viva Wallet for $800 million, Jamie Dimon flew to Athens to stand alongside Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who hailed the purchase as a “vote of confidence in the country.” The deal crowned Viva Wallet as Greece’s first tech unicorn, valued at $1.6 billion.

For JPMorgan, Viva Wallet’s expertise in dealing with financial laws and compliance issues in dozens of European jurisdictions with complex rules made it a compelling investment as the U.S. bank tries to expand in Europe. What wasn’t widely known—and hasn’t been previously reported—is that Viva Wallet was squarely in the crosshairs of financial regulators across Europe, and it had fired or pushed out numerous compliance employees who had raised concerns about the business to management, according to regulatory documents and interviews with more than a dozen people who worked at Viva Wallet and have direct knowledge of its regulatory operations.

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