Former Nomura Securities Trader Granted Retrial Over RMBS Conspiracy Charge

After Jesse Litvak was freed from prison over similar charges last month, Michael Gramins may have his conviction overturned

A former Nomura Securities (Nomura) trader has been granted a retrial after being convicted of conspiracy a year ago. Michael Gramins, who used to supervise Nomura’s residential backed mortgage securities (RMBS) desk, is supposed to have lied to a counterparty about the pricing of RMBS trades.

The retrial is a result of a similar case that took place last month regarding a former Jefferies RMBS trader. Jesse Litvak was convicted of securities fraud for lying to counterparties about the amount he had paid for mortgage-backed bonds.

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Over the course of his trial, an RMBS buyer, mistakenly thinking Litvak was acting as his agent, claimed Litvak had a “duty” to his counterparties to tell the truth regarding the prices he had paid for the bonds. Last month, the Manhattan federal appeals court decided that this opinion, which does not match legal standards, had unreasonably influenced the jury’s decision and ordered Litvak to be released.

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Hope for Gramins

As a result of this decision, Gramins pushed for a new trial. U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny agreed, and the former Nomura trader’s case will return to court.

Chatigny’s decision was driven by a testimony given at Gramins’ trial that matched, it seems almost exactly, the kind of testimony given at Litvak’s. An RMBS buyer claimed that Gramins had to tell him the truth as to the price he had paid for RMBS he was trying to sell.

Chatigny also noted that the decision to convict might have been influenced by the fact that Gramins engaged in supposedly wrongful trading activity after Litvak had been indicted in 2013. Two other Nomura traders, Ross Shapiro and Tyler Peters, both engaged in the same activity as Gramins before 2013, but neither of them was convicted.

Even if he does manage to escape conviction on this count of conspiracy, Gramins will still face other charges. He will be in court in July facing wire and securities fraud charges, along with Shapiro who also faces a charge of conspiracy.

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