CFTC Accuses Swaps Trader of Price Manipulation, Deceptive Conduct and Making False Statements

The Dodd-Frank Act gave the CFTC additional ammunition to use for combatting fraud in the commodities and derivatives markets. Using that ammunition, the CFTC recently commenced an enforcement action against a swaps trader at an unnamed investment bank, who allegedly manipulated the price of certain swap spreads to obtain better pricing for the bank in a swap transaction with one of the bank’s bond underwriting customers. This article details the facts and circumstances that underpin the action; the specific charges in the CFTC’s civil enforcement complaint; and the relief the CFTC seeks, with insights from David Slovick, partner at Barnes & Thornburg and former Senior Attorney at the CFTC and SEC; and Petal P. Walker, special counsel at WilmerHale and former Chief Counsel to CFTC Commissioner Sharon Bowen. See our two-part review of recent CFTC activity: “Enforcement Actions” (Apr. 15, 2021); and “Regulatory Actions” (Apr. 29, 2021); as well as “Anticipating SEC and CFTC Enforcement Priorities Under the Biden Administration” (Mar. 18, 2021).

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