Optiver Market-Manipulation Case Referred To Mediator

Jul 1 2011 | 1:07am ET

A long-running hedge fund market-manipulation case is heading to mediation.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s allegations against Optiver Holding’s U.S. unit were referred to U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz for settlement two weeks ago. It is unclear how involved in crafting a deal between the two sides Katz will be.

Three years ago, the CFTC sued Amsterdam-based Optiver, two of its units and three employees, accusing the lot of market manipulation and attempt market manipulation.

According to the CFTC, the defendants attempted to manipulate the crude oil, gasoline and heating oil markets on 19 occasions in March 2007, succeeding at least five times and turning $1 million in allegedly ill-gotten profits. Optiver engaged in “banging the close,” the CFTC said in the enforcement action, filed in Manhattan federal court, meaning that is built up a large position just before the market closes and offset it at the close, which is illegal.

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