The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has fined two gold futures traders from the UAE over allegations that they schemed to manipulate the precious metals futures market through a trading tactic known as ‘spoofing’.
Heet Khara and Nasim Salim, both are former traders of CME Group’s gold and silver futures contracts, were hit by $2.7 million in penalties for engaging in disruptive trading practices by placing bids and offers with the intent to cancel them before execution. The abuses of United Arab Emirates residents allegedly occurred between February 2015 through at least April 28, 2015.
Spoofing, in general, is a practice in which a trader floods the market with fake orders by entering and quickly canceling large buy or sell orders on an exchange, in order to fool other traders into thinking that the market is poised to rise or fall.
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Regulators and exchanges have stepped up their policing of spoofing in recent years. Last year, Citigroup received a $25 million fine to settle charges that it spoofed the treasury futures market, the biggest spoofing settlement to date.
Though the tactic has long been used by some traders, regulators began clamping down on it only a few years ago. Specifically, the Dodd-Frank Act gives the CFTC the explicit authority to crack down on the practice.
Commenting on the criminal and civil enforcement actions, former CFTC Director of Enforcement Aitan Goelman said: “The CFTC will protect the U.S. futures markets regardless of where those who engage in illegal spoofing practices are located. Spoofing undermines public confidence in our markets, and the CFTC will continue to aggressively pursue wrongdoers.”