Judge Tosses Market-Manipulation Suit Against Moore, For Now

Sep 14 2011 | 1:14pm ET

A federal judge has dismissed a market-manipulation lawsuit against Moore Capital Management and a former trader because it cites the hedge fund's settlement with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

A group of investors claimed they lost money due to Moore's and Christopher Pia's alleged attempt to manipulate the platinum and palladium futures markets on the New York Mercantile Exchange in 2007 and 2008. Moore paid $25 million to settle those allegations last year and Pia, now head of his own hedge fund, Pia Capital Management, paid $1 million in July to do the same.

U.S. District Judge William Pauley ruled that the investors could sue Moore, Pia and brokerage MF Global—but they could not use the settlements, in which neither Moore nor Pia admitted any wrongdoing—to prove liability. The plaintiffs will be permitted to replead their case.

Christopher Lovell, a lawyer for some of them, said Pauley's decision was "a good opinion that recognizes that the allegations concerning trades made by Mr. Pia on behalf of the other defendants may suffice to establish liability."

According to the CFTC and the plaintiffs, during his time at Moore, Pia repeatedly "banged the close" of the commodity futures markets to force the price of the contracts up.

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