Justice Department Charges Eight Traders With Deceptive Futures Market Trading

A man walks past Deutsche Bank offices in London

Deutsche Bank, UBS and HSBC will collectively pay almost $47 million to settle civil regulatory charges some of their traders engaged in spoofing in precious metals.

Several agencies are involved in the case, including the Department of Justice and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The U.S. Justice Department and the country's derivatives regulator said on Monday they had filed civil and criminal charges against three European banks, which paid $46.6 million to settle the cases, and eight individuals for alleged manipulation in U.S. futures and commodities market.

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.

A rare charge: Only three people had previously ever been charged with spoofing.

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In a criminal complaint, Thakkar is accused of developing a software program that helped an unnamed commodities trader engage in "spoofing", placing thousands of bids or offers on the E-mini S&P, a market on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, with the intent of canceling the trades before they were executed, but after bids were placed on the other side of the market.

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.

The banks face fines in the region of $10 millions, with HSBC slightly less than UBS and Deutsche Bank.

James McDonald, the CFTC's director of enforcement, also hailed the ruling: "We are equally committed to identifying and punishing these bad actors". A spokesman for the Asia-focused bank told the newswire that the group was pleased to have resolved the matter. The Deutsche Bank trader David Liew pleaded guilty on June and has cooperated with investigators since.

The charges against the traders primarily reference activity before 2015, when both firms and regulators lacked sufficient controls to monitor for spoofing activity, as trading migrated from open pits to electronic platforms.

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