The ranks of Wall Street’s regulators in Washington continue to turn over as another top enforcer announced plans to leave. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Thursday announced that Enforcement Director Aitan Goelman will leave the agency on February 3, 2017.
During Goelman’s tenure as head of the agency’s largest division, the CFTC filed hundreds of successful enforcement actions covering the full gamut of the its authority and obtained judgements and orders totaling more than $7 billion in monetary sanctions.
Among the most prominent were cases regarding the manipulation of foreign exchange benchmarks, like those involving settlements with five international banks for over $1.4 billion. The statement also cited the commission’s settlements over cases involving cryptocurrency, through which the CFTC found that cryptocurrency, under certain circumstances, qualified as a commodity under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).
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Under Mr. Goelman’s leadership, the CFTC also awarded its first ever whistleblower award of more than $10 million, and the program continues to see an increase in the number and quality of tips that it receives.
Before joining the Wall Street’s watchdog, Mr. Goelman was a litigation partner at law firm Zuckerman Spaeder and, earlier in his career, he served for nine years in the Department of Justice. Mr. Goelman graduated from Yale Law School in 1993, after which he clerked for Justice Aharon Barak of the Supreme Court of Israel.
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The departures of Mr. Goelman and several Wall street overseers come as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to fill out his incoming administration. Trump is expected to ease many of the regulations that emerged during Obama’s time in office. For instance, he has vowed to roll back the Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul, which created new enforcement authorities for the CFTC and tightened supervision of the financial system.
The CFTC’s Chairman Massad said: “During my confirmation hearing, I pledged that one of my priorities would be robust enforcement, because it is critical to maintaining the integrity of our markets. Aitan Goelman has delivered. Under his leadership, we have won path-breaking cases in spoofing and manipulation, protected investors from fraudulent actors, held firms accountable for misdeeds, and secured judgments of hundreds of millions of dollars in restitution for victims. We have also imposed penalties of more than seven times our aggregate budgets during the same period. In short, Aitan and his team have done a terrific job. I thank him for his service to our country, and I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”
Mr. Goelman added: “It has been a true privilege to lead this remarkable Division, which battles every day through adversity to get the job done for the American People. The men and women in the Division are as talented, committed and resourceful as any group of professionals in the government, and together we’ve been able to accomplish some remarkable things. I’d like to thank the employees of the Division, and of the Commission in general, for their devotion and assistance. I’d also like to thank Chairman Massad for giving me the opportunity to do this job, for his trust and confidence, and for his commitment to the pursuit of justice. I am also deeply grateful to Commissioners Giancarlo and Bowen for their steadfast support of the enforcement program.”