Amaranth's Hunter Fined $30 Million

Apr 25 2011 | 12:35pm ET

More than four years after his trades led to the then most-spectacular hedge fund collapse in history, former Amaranth Advisors trader Brian Hunter faces something of a reckoning.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday fined Hunter $30 million for attempting to manipulate the natural gas futures market, the largest fine in the history of the regulator. Whether Hunter ever actually pays the fine is another question.

Hunter has said FERC has no jurisdiction over him, both because he is a Canadian citizen and made the trades from Canada, and because the regulator lacks oversight authority over the futures market. Hunter's lawyer told Dow Jones Newswires that the FERC finding "means nothing."

Hunter can appeal the decision, which found that he sold natural gas futures "with the intent to depress prices and financially benefit his significant derivatives positions held on other platforms."

He still faces another lawsuit filed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The fine of Hunter comes almost two years after Amaranth and another former trader at the hedge fund, Matthew Donohoe, settled the FERC and CFTC allegations. Hunter was explicitly excluded from that $7.5 million deal.

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