Tags: UBS | Andre Flotron | gold | crime

Ex-UBS Gold Trader Accused by US of Fixing Metals Prices

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Wednesday, 13 Sep 2017 04:47 PM

A former trader at UBS Group was charged with conspiracy and fraud over his suspected role in manipulating the price of precious metals.

Andre Flotron, who worked at the bank in Switzerland and in Stamford, Connecticut, is the second person publicly charged in the U.S. investigation into the fixing of gold, silver, platinum and palladium prices. Flotron, a Swiss resident, was arrested during a visit to New Jersey. He was charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, commodities fraud and spoofing, according to a complaint filed in federal court in Connecticut.

Flotron appeared in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, on Wednesday with his attorney, Marc Mukasey.

Flotron’s arrest extends the Justice Department’s examination of whether bank traders conspired to rig interest-rate benchmarks and manipulate currency exchanges from 2008 to 2013. The probes, which led to guilty pleas and billions of dollars in payouts by some of the world’s biggest banks, also led prosecutors to begin investigating whether metals traders were placing orders without the intent of executing them in an attempt to move prices in their favor, a tactic known as spoofing.

‘Large Orders’

“Flotron and his co-conspirators placed one or more large orders for precious metals futures contracts on one side of the market which, at the time Flotron and his co-conspirators placed the orders, they intended to cancel before execution,” the complaint said.

While the spoof orders were pending, Flotron and his co-conspirators often executed smaller orders on the opposite side of the market in an attempt to profit from the movement in price they had caused, prosecutors alleged in the complaint.

The Justice Department’s case against Flotron was assisted by another trader, unnamed in court papers, who reached a deal last fall to cooperate with prosecutors in spoofing in the precious metals and currency markets, according to the complaint.

Swiss Scrutiny

Swiss regulators have also shown an interest in Flotron, telling him in a 2014 letter of a possible enforcement action, two people told Bloomberg News at the time. It’s unclear whether Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority disciplined him.

UBS won immunity from criminal fraud charges in the Justice Department metals investigation as part of its 2015 settlement ending interest rate and currency rigging probes.

Prosecutors have pursued charges for spoofing more aggressively since the adoption of the Dodd-Frank financial law, which made the practice illegal. Most notably, they charged a British trader with contributing to the “flash crash” of 2010.

In June, David Liew, a former Deutsche Bank AG trader, pleaded guilty to fraud in federal court in Chicago for his role in the spoofing of contracts for gold, silver, platinum and palladium, according to court papers. Along with spoofing, he also acknowledged front-running customers’ orders.

© Copyright 2017 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

   
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A former trader at UBS Group AG was charged with conspiracy and fraud over his suspected role in manipulating the price of precious metals. Andre Flotron, who worked at the bank in Switzerland and in Stamford, Connecticut, is the second person publicly charged in the U.S.
UBS, Andre Flotron, gold, crime
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2017-47-13
Wednesday, 13 Sep 2017 04:47 PM
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