Out To Lunch: Hunter Skipped Town During FERC Probe

Jul 30 2007 | 12:38pm ET

Former Amaranth Advisors energy trader Brian Hunter cut short an interview with a regulator that later charged him with attempted market manipulation, skipping town during lunch.

“He was in the middle of an interview and there was a lunch break, and he never came back from lunch,” Joseph Kelliher, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said of the meeting in Washington, D.C., earlier this year, the Globe and Mail reports. The interview was part of FERC’s probe of Amaranth’s alleged efforts to depress the settlement price of natural gas futures contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange last year.

The disgraced trader—a Canadian citizen living in Calgary, Alberta, at the time of the alleged malfeasance— “voluntarily flew to the U.S.A. to meet with FERC officials and give an interview,” a spokesman for Hunter told the Canadian newspaper. “Brian ended the interview when he and his attorney became aware that FERC had misrepresented the agenda for the discussion.”

The spokesman added that Hunter had spent hours cooperating with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which also charged him last week with market manipulation.

Both Hunter and Amaranth have been charged by the CFTC and FERC, with the latter agency also accusing fellow ex-Amaranth trader Matthew Donohoe of wrongdoing. An instant message conversation between Donohoe—an American based at Amaranth’s Greenwich, Conn., headquarters at the time of the trades in question and now reported by the Globe and Mail to be living in Calgary—and Hunter is among the evidence mounted by the CFTC, with Hunter bragging, “today came together quite nicely” and “I am flexing here,” and Donohoe saying it was “looking [pretty] bang on.”

All three accused parties have 30 days to respond to the FERC charges.

“It’s an opportunity for them to rebut our findings,” Kelliher said. “Now, it’s not their first opportunity to do so; we’ve been talking to them on and off for a number of months.”

But not over lunch.

THE LAWSUITS:

FERC's order to show cause
CFTC enforcement action
Brian Hunter's complaint against FERC
Brian Hunter's declaration

RELATED STORIES:

Amaranth Fires Back At CFTC Charges
Hunter Sued By FERC, Pledges To Fight CFTC Charges

Amaranth, Hunter Hit With Market Manipulation Charges


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