Founder of Chicago firm charged in crackdown on futures 'spoofing'

01 February, 2018, 00:58 | Author: Martin Tyler
  • Founder of Chicago firm charged in crackdown on futures 'spoofing'

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) says it has charged eight individuals over allegations they "spoofed" or manipulated the futures markets for precious metals and share indexes.

The traders worked for UBS Group AG and Deutsche Bank AG, among other firms. Deutsche Bank will pay $30 million while UBS will pay $15 million of that total following an extensive investigation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that also names six individuals.

Andre Flotron, 53, a Swiss national living in New Jersey, has been charged with conspiracy to commit spoofing and fraud when he was a UBS AG precious metals trader in Switzerland.

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In spoofing traders place buy and sell orders with the intention of cancelling them before completing the transactions. The CFTC said in accepting HSBC's settlement, it "recognizes the bank's cooperation during the Division of Enforcement's investigation of this matter".

Spoofing, which is a criminal offence under the 2010 Dodd- Frank financial reform law, is said to have had the effect of artificially inflating or deflating prices of futures contracts traded on exchanges in Chicago.

A spokesman for UBS did not immediately provide comment.

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"Spoofing is a particularly pernicious example of bad actors seeking to manipulate the market through the abuse of technology", James McDonald, the CFTC's head of enforcement, said in a statement on Monday.

Before Monday's cases, only three individuals had ever been charged with spoofing, which involves a trader entering large orders with the intention of tricking others into thinking there had been a fundamental change in supply and demand in a market.

"These cases should send a strong signal that we at the CFTC are committed to identifying individuals responsible for unlawful activity and holding them accountable". Edward Bases, 55, and John Pacilio, 53, both of CT and based in New York City, were charged in a criminal complaint with commodities fraud. Federal officials said Thakkar, 41, of Naperville, was arrested Monday in IL. It is a growing problem as traders rely more and more on algorithms to execute trades.

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