CFTC Fines Hedgie $1M For Metals Market Manipulation

Jul 26 2011 | 8:48am ET

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has slapped hedge fund manager Christopher Pia with a $1 million penalty for attempting to manipulate the metals market.

The commission says that from “at least November 2007 until May 2008,” while Pia was a portfolio manager at Moore Capital Management, he “frequently” attempted to manipulate the settlement prices of palladium and platinum futures contracts, “banging the close” to drive the price of futures contracts up.

The CFTC order permanently bans Pia from trading CFTC-regulated products during the closing period of the markets and from trading CFTC-regulated products in platinum and palladium.

Said David Meister, CFTC division of enforcement director: “To protect market participants and promote market integrity, individuals who attempt to manipulate commodity prices must and will be held personally accountable. As demonstrated by today's action, the commission will not hesitate to impose significant sanctions on such traders.”

Pia, who left Moore and started his own hedge fund in 2008, will be monitored to ensure his compliance with the order for a five-year period. 

In April, the CFTC fined Moore Capital $25 million and rapped the firm for failing to properly supervise Pia. In addition, the regulator restricted Moore’s commodity pool operator and commodity trading advisor registrations for three years, and restricted it from trading 15 minutes before the close of the palladium and platinum markets.

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