Connecticut jury finds Andre Flotron not guilty in setback for the government.
by Gabriel T. Rubin
A Connecticut federal jury cleared a former UBS Group AG metals trader of scheming to manipulate futures markets through a practice known as “spoofing,” a setback for the government as it works to stem the practice in financial markets.
Andre Flotron was acquitted by the New Haven jury on Wednesday on one count of conspiracy to engage in commodities fraud, after a judge previously threw out six other charges including substantive spoofing and commodities fraud.
The Verdict is the first acquittal in a spoofing case since the practice was made illegal in 2010 by the Dodd-Frank financial law. Prosecutors have targeted the practice aggressively in recent months. In January, Mr. Flotron and seven other traders were charged with deceptive trading practices in the futures markets, with all but one person charged with illegal spoofing.
“While we are disappointed in the outcome, we respect the jury's verdict. The Justice Department remains committed to investigating and prosecuting cases involving deceptive trading practices,” a Justice Department spokesman said. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which fined Mr. Flotron for alleged spoofing in January, declined to comment.
“We're glad we fought the charges until justice was done. We feel as good as gold,” said Marc Mukasey, Mr. Flotron's lawyer.
Spoofing involves a trader entering large orders with the intention of tricking others into thinking there has been a fundemental change in supply and demand in a market. In August, federal appeals court upheld the conviction of the first U.S. trader to face prison time for manipulating futures prices using spoofing tactics.