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Six-Years Of Gold Market Spoofing Results In $25 Million Fine

Kitco News

Mark Van Scyoc/

(Kitco News) - U.S. regulatory authorities are cracking down on firms who unfairly manipulate or “spoof” the precious metals market.

Tuesday, the Commodity Futures and Trading Commission (CFTC) fined Merrill Lynch Commodities, Inc. (MLCI) $25 million.

The charges were related to allegations that traders at MLCI attempted to manipulate precious metals futures over a six-year period between 2008 and 2014.

The CFTC said that MLCI traders spoofed precious metals markets by placing orders to buy and sell with the intent to cancel the orders before execution. The CFTC added that the manipulation ultimately caused artificial prices.

The CFTC noted an example from November 16, 2010, where a trader wrote the following in an electronic chat: “guys the algos are really geared up in here.  [I]f you spoof this it really moves.”

“Today’s enforcement action shows that the commission continues to aggressively pursue those who manipulate and spoof in our markets,” said James McDonald, CFTC Director of Enforcement said in a statement from the CFTC. “If left unchecked, this sort of misconduct can undermine the integrity of the price discovery process, harm law-abiding market participants, and diminish confidence in our markets more generally.  That’s why we will continue to keep our markets free from spoofing and manipulation.”

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