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May 24, 2022

Switzerland-based mining and commodity trading firm Glencore International A.G. and an affiliate have agreed to pay over $1.1 billion in criminal penalties and forfeitures, and will plead guilty to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and conspiracy to engage in commodity price manipulation.  In addition, the companies will pay over $1.186 billion in civil penalties and disgorgement in settlement with the CFTC.  As part of the criminal plea agreement, Glencore admitted that between 2007 and 2018, it corruptly provided more than $100 million in payments and other things of value to intermediaries for the payment of bribes to officials in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Brazil, Venezuela, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  With respect to the commodity price manipulation scheme, the CFTC found that from as early as 2007 through at least 2018, Glencore sought to increase profits from its physical and derivatives oil products trading by manipulating or attempting to manipulate four U.S. based S&P Global Platts physical oil benchmarks and related futures and swaps.  Criminal fines and forfeitures total over $700 million for the FCPA violations and nearly $486 million for the for the market manipulation violations, which amounts are subject to credits for amounts paid to the CFTC and foreign authorities including the United Kingdom.  The $1.186 billion CFTC resolution will also be reduced, with Glencore receiving credit for payments in the criminal resolutions.  DOJ; USAO SDNY; CFTC

May 13, 2022

Kraft Foods Group, Inc. and Mondelez Global LLC have been ordered to pay $16 million after being found to manipulate the prices of cash wheat and wheat futures, and holding wheat futures positions in excess of speculative position limits established by the CFTC.  The companies allegedly engaged in the scheme in order to lower cash wheat prices after they rose in the summer of 2011.  The misconduct earned the two companies over $5.4 million in profits.  CFTC

May 5, 2022

Arthur Hayes, Benjamin Delo, and Samuel Reed, co-founders of BitMEX, were ordered to pay $30 million for AML violations and for illegally operating a cryptocurrency derivatives trading platform. From late 2014 through 2020, the defendants failed to implement and enforce preventative controls against unlawful conduct. BitMEX operated without CFTC approval to operate as a Designated Contract Market or a Swap Execution Facility. Further, BitMEX operated without registration as a Futures Commission Merchant, failed to implement a Customer Information Program, did not employ proper KYC procedures, and failed to implement an adequate AML program. CFTC

April 8, 2022

Danish resident Casper Mikkelsen, also known as Carsten Nielsen, Brian Thomson, Thomas Jensen, and Casper Muller, has been ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution and $3.6 million in penalties after he was found to have misappropriated client funds for his personal use, used earlier investor funds to pay later investors, and failed to register as a commodity trading advisor.  Mikkelsen’s victims had believed they were investing their funds to trade in forex.  CFTC

April 7, 2022

Alan Friedland, Fintech Investment Group, Inc., and Compcoin LLC will pay $1.8 million to settle allegations of Commodities Exchange Act violations. Friedland, through his companies, fraudulently solicited customers to invest in a nonexistent proprietary forex trading algorithm, ART, which promised highly successful prediction of forex rates for its users. The defendants solicited customers over a 2-year period, knowing that the required approval from National Futures Association had not been obtained. The approval never materialized, and the investors were saddled with a worthless digital asset. The Court entered an order for permanent injunction, monetary sanctions, and equitable relief against the defendants. CFTC

March 15, 2022

London-based swap dealer ED&F Man Capital Markets, Ltd. will pay $3.25 million to resolve claims that it failed to comply with swap dealer requirements including by failing to report accurate swaps data to a swaps data repository, failing to disclose to its U.S. swaps counterparties that affiliated-entity proprietary traders had access to counterparties’ trade information, and failing to disclose mid-market marks to counterparties. The CFTC further found that the entity failed to maintain an adequate supervisory system or perform its supervisory obligations diligently.  CFTC

March 10, 2022

The CFTC has awarded two whistleblowers awards totaling approximately $500,000 after they separately provided significant information and substantial assistance that helped lead to a successful enforcement action.  According to the agency, the whistleblowers’ tip helped expand the scope of an existing investigation and led to other key evidence.  CFTC

February 23, 2022

The CFTC settled charges against Richard D. Neal and his company Golden Signals, LLC for failing to register as a commodity trading advisor and commodity pool operator. Neal and Golden Signals, LLC will pay over $2.6 million in restitution, disgorgement, and a civil monetary penalty for the fraud perpetrated over a 5-year period beginning in October 2016. They engaged in binary options solicitation and trading fraud via webpages and social media channels, touting “the highest profit percentage ratings in the world.” Additionally, customers lost over $1.2 million through Neal and Golden Signals’ fraudulent solicitations for binary options signal, trainings, and strategy course offerings. CFTC
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