Free market illusions: What is the US’ endgame in China?
Ramzy Baroud, 02 June 2021
Why does the US advocate a free market while stifling it too? The current US-China economic war is a perfect example of this perplexing question. The legacy of Milton Friedman, the founder of America’s modern political economy, was a representation of this very dichotomy: the use and manipulation of the concept of the free market.
Through the Chicago School of Economics, whose disciples have proved most consequential in the formation of the American approach to foreign policy, especially in South America, Milton constantly championed the virtues of the free market, emphasising a supposed link between freedom and capitalism and insisting that governments should not micromanage markets. Continue reading “Article: Free market illusions: What is the US’ endgame in China?”
Chinese money-laundering rings in Chicago, New York cleaning Mexican drug cartel cash
Frank Main and Jon Seidel , 30 April 2021
A Chinese money-launderer was about to pick up Mexican drug-cartel cash in Chicago, federal authorities say, when his plans suddenly changed.
They say the suspected launderer got a call from a man he thought was a Mexican money courier who told him they needed to change their meeting place because he’d spotted a cop. “You Asian, I’m Mexican — not a good look,” the courier said in the 2017 phone call, court records show.
So they picked a different address to meet. They described their cars to each other. And when they met on the Southwest Side, they had a way to identify each other, authorities say: The money-launderer handed the courier a $1 bill. The men had agreed earlier that the serial number on the bill — G5915410C — would confirm the Chinese man’s identity. Authorities say that’s common in the world of drug-trafficking. Continue reading “Article: Chinese money-laundering rings in Chicago, New York cleaning Mexican drug cartel cash”
Xianbing Gan Gets 14 Years For Having Chicago Drug Proceeds Laundered Through China To Be Sent To Traffickers In Mexico
CBS 2 Chicago Staff, 27 April 2021
CHICAGO (CBS) — A man was sentenced to 14 years in prison Tuesday for having drug proceeds picked up in Chicago and laundering them through China to have them sent to drug traffickers in Mexico.
Prosecutors said Xianbing Gan schemed in 2018 to have about $534,206 in narcotics proceeds picked up in Chicago and then transferred to various bank accounts in China – with the money ultimately intended for the drug traffickers in Mexico. Continue reading “Article: Xianbing Gan Gets 14 Years For Having Chicago Drug Proceeds Laundered Through China To Be Sent To Traffickers In Mexico”
Guebert: ‘Price fixing’ settlements need big fix
Alan Guebert, 04 April 2021
In a too-common story in American agriculture, Archer Daniels Midland last month agreed to pay farmers $45 million to settle what the March 13 Wall Street Journal described as “price-fixing allegations leveled at its peanut processing division.”
While $45 million is, indeed, peanuts to ADM, this isn’t the first time the Chicago-based company has faced market manipulation charges. In the late 1990s, ADM spent years and millions on criminal and civil price-fixing settlements. But ADM isn’t the only ag master of the universe to settle recent civil lawsuits over alleged market irregularities. Continue reading “Article: Guebert: ‘Price fixing’ settlements need big fix”
WA rancher Easterday pleads guilty to stealing $244M in ‘ghost cattle’ scam
KRISTIN M. KRAEMER, 31 March 2021
The president of one of the largest agricultural operations in Washington state has admitted concocting a scheme to defraud Tyson Foods and another company out of more than $244 million.
Cody A. Easterday, 49, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in a case that federal prosecutors are calling a “ghost-cattle scam.”
Easterday, who’s also chief executive officer of Easterday Ranches Inc., charged the two companies under various agreements for the costs of buying and feeding 200,000 cattle, when those cattle did not actually exist, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release. Continue reading “Article: WA rancher Easterday pleads guilty to stealing $244M in ‘ghost cattle’ scam”
Big Oil’s Secret World of Trading
Javier Blas and Jack Farchy, 30 March 2021
It was a bleak moment for the oil industry. U.S. shale companies were failing by the dozen. Petrostates were on the brink of bankruptcy. Texas roughnecks and Kuwaiti princes alike had watched helplessly for months as the commodity that was their lifeblood tumbled to prices that had until recently seemed unthinkable. Below $50 a barrel, then below $40, then below $30.
But inside the central London headquarters of one of the world’s largest oil companies, there was an air of calm. It was January 2016. Bob Dudley had been at the helm of BP Plc for six years. He ought to have had as much reason to panic as anyone in the rest of his industry. The unflashy American had been predicting lower prices for months. He was being proved right, though that was hardly a reason to celebrate. Continue reading “Article: Big Oil’s Secret World of Trading”
The Legal and Economic Implications from Recent UK Spoofing Cases.
Yan Cao, Marlene Haas, Greg Leonard, 23 March 2021
The UK Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) has in recent years intensified its efforts in securities and commodities markets to detect and pursue the type of disruptive trading behaviour called “spoofing.” This emphasis coincides with a similarly increasing focus by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) and the US Department of Justice (“DOJ”) on spoofing cases in the US. Spoofing may take different forms, but usually involves the placing of non-bona fide orders, often of large quantity, on one side of the market while trying to execute a bona fide order on the other side of the market. Once the bona fide order has been executed, the trader cancels the non-bona fide orders quickly. To date, more than 40 enforcement actions targeting spoofing have been filed against individuals and companies by US regulators and more than 5 have been filed by UK regulators. In February 2019, Julia Hoggett, the FCA’s Director of Market Oversight, delivered a speech about the FCA’s commitment to tackling market abuse, calling compliance with such rules “critical to the integrity and health of our financial markets.” Continue reading “Article: The Legal and Economic Implications from Recent UK Spoofing Cases”
GameStop, The Second Surge: Anatomy Of A ‘Gamma Swarm’
George Calhoun, 10 March 2021
GameStop GME -0.7% is not following the script. Despite the confident predictions by almost all the sideline observers (including myself) that the January frenzy in GME shares would end predictably, and badly… this “Stonk” has suddenly surged a second time, embarrassing the conventional wisdom once again.
When GME first erupted in January, I thought it looked like just a clever way to accelerate a conventional short squeeze. (The mechanics of a short squeeze, and the “gamma” accelerant using call options, are described in my previous column.) On that basis, I expected that it would soon deflate and “return to normal.” The battlefield would be littered with the carcasses of small investors who bought at the top. We’d hear the distant sound of champagne popping in the proud towers of Wall Street and Chicago, and the scolds in the press would treat us to another round of lectures on thrift and the Madness of Crowds.
That’s not what happened. The stock did come down as low as $38, but the deflation didn’t stick. As of this moment mid-day (March 10), GME is again trading above $300 a share. [Things are moving fast. See the Update at the end of this piece.]
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Bank of America, Morgan Stanley win dismissal of metals spoofing litigation
Jonathan Stempel, 05 March 2021
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal judge in Manhattan on Thursday dismissed litigation by traders and trading firms accusing Bank of America Corp and Morgan Stanley of manipulating the precious metals futures market by placing trades and then cancelling them before execution, or “spoofing”.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Liman in Manhattan said the June 2019 lawsuit over alleged spoofing in gold, silver, platinum and palladium futures from 2007 to 2014 was filed long after the two-year federal statute of limitations had run out.
The investors said the clock started in January 2018 when the traders Edward Bases and John Pacilio, both from Connecticut and also defendants, were charged with commodities fraud. Six other people were criminally charged at the time. Continue reading “Article: Bank of America, Morgan Stanley win dismissal of metals spoofing litigation”
GameStop, other Reddit-favored stocks plunge as trading frenzy fizzles
GameStop Corp. shares more than halved in value on Tuesday and silver prices retreated as the Reddit-driven trading frenzy that roiled stock and commodity markets appeared to fizzle, at least for now.
The videogame retailer’s shares, whose wild gyrations have made or lost billions of dollars for hedge funds and other investors in recent weeks, closed down 60% at $90. They are now worth less than a fifth of their high of $483 last week.
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U.S. Clamps Down on Market Manipulation Known as Spoofing as Two Former Traders at Deutsche Bank are Found Guilty
SWFI, 28 September 2020
A Chicago federal jury found two former employees of Deutsche Bank AG guilty of fraud charges for their respective roles in fraudulent and manipulative trading practices involving publicly-traded precious metals futures contracts. This case was investigated by the FBI’s New York Field Office. According to the DOJ press release, “After a two-week trial, James Vorley,
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Ex-Deutsche Bank Gold Traders Found Guilty in Spoofing Trial
Bloomberg, 26 September 2020
Prosecutors behind a sweeping U.S. crackdown on market “spoofing” scored a big win Friday when former Deutsche Bank AG traders Cedric Chanu and James Vorley were convicted of fraud for manipulating gold and silver prices.
A federal jury in Chicago, after three days of deliberations, concluded Chanu and Vorley made bogus trade orders between 2008 and 2013 to illegally influence precious-metals prices. The weeklong trial was the latest U.S. prosecution of a “spoofing” case since the global market “flash crash” in 2010. Continue reading “Article: Ex-Deutsche Bank Gold Traders Found Guilty in Spoofing Trial”
Green Plains sues ADM, alleging ethanol market manipulation
P.J. Huffstutter, 05 July 2020
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Green Plains Inc, one of the biggest U.S. ethanol producers, sued Archer Daniels Midland Co on Tuesday, accusing the global grain trader of manipulating the price of the biofuel to profit from its positions in the derivatives market.
Green Plains filed the proposed class action with the U.S. District Court of Nebraska, where it also claimed that senior ADM officials knew of the alleged manipulation. ADM told Reuters in an email statement that the company does not comment on pending litigation. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. It follows reporting by Reuters that ADM’s ethanol selling had led traders to complain to S&P Global Platts, which provides benchmark pricing for the physical ethanol contract at different U.S. delivery points. Continue reading “Article: Green Plains sues ADM, alleging ethanol market manipulation”
Hound of Hounslow: Who is Navinder Sarao, the ‘flash crash trader’?
Andy Verity & Eleanor Lawrie, 28 January 2020
Former stock market trader Navinder Sarao has been sentenced to a year of home detention for helping trigger a brief $1tn (£770bn) stock market crash.
Dubbed the “Hound of Hounslow” in an ironic reference to the famous “Wolf of Wall Street” fraudster, the Briton was shown leniency by a Chicago judge due to the extraordinary circumstances of his case.
But who is he – and how did he help cause markets to plunge almost 4,000 miles away? Continue reading “Article: Hound of Hounslow: Who is Navinder Sarao, the ‘flash crash trader’?”