CFTC charges Optiver for manipulation of NYMEX oil contracts

The CFTC announced that it would obtain $14 million in civil monetary penalties and disgorgement against Optiver Holding BC, a Netherlands-based global proprietary trading company, two subsidiaries, and three of its company officers. The CFTC charged the defendants with engaging in manipulation and attempted manipulation of New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), Light Sweet Crude Oil, New York Harbor Heating Oil, and New York Harbor Gasoline futures contracts in 2007. Optiver and van Kempen are also charged with making false statements to a NYMEX inquiry.

The consent order requires the defendants to pay $13 million in civil monetary penalties and $1 million in disgorgement. Optiver has trading limitations imposed on it, and the three individual defendants are prohibited from trading commodities.

The defendants attempted to manipulate prices in 19 instances in March 2007, and were successful in causing artificial prices in at least 5 instances. The defendants accumulated large positions in Trading at Settlement (TAS) contracts in Light Sweet Crude Oil, Heating Oil, or New York Harbor Gasoline contracts. The defendants offset their position by trading futures contracts before and during the closing period.

Read more about the CFTC complaint.

Photo credit: Andrew Deacon.

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