U.S. derivatives regulators have reached a record settlement with prop trading firm Tower Research Capital LLC over alleged spoofing involving equity index futures.
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that Tower will pay $67.4 million (all figures in U.S. dollars) to settle allegations that several of its traders entered thousands of spoofing orders in futures traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) over nearly two years.
The sanctions include US$32.6 million in restitution, $10.5 million in disgorgement, and a $24.4 million penalty, which represent the largest sanctions ever ordered in a spoofing case, the CFTC said.
Separately, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with Tower, which defers criminal prosecution on a commodities fraud charge.
The CFTC said that its order recognizes Tower’s cooperation with its investigation, which reduced the monetary penalty.
“This misconduct undermines the integrity of the price discovery process and can result, as it did here, in harm to law-abiding market participants,” said James McDonald, director of enforcement at the CFTC.