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Nav Sarao pleads guilty in US court to spoofing charges

First Published 10th November 2016

Six-years plus jail sentence expected.

Navinder "Nav" Sarao, recently extradited to the US to face various charges of market manipulation, has pleaded guilty to spoofing and wire fraud. The "Hound of Hounslow" has agreed to surrender around USD 13 million in trading profits in addition to paying a penalty of almost USD 26 million. This all but erases the USD 40 million that the US government claimed he made from spoofing the S&P 500 e-mini futures on the CME.

Whether Sarao's plea was a tactical move to ensure a lighter sentence if convicted, or a genuine admission of guilt is unclear, given that he previously claimed he had "not done anything wrong". He now faces a long wait before being sentenced, which won't happen until at least February 2017.

Though in theory Sarao faces up to 30 years in jail, the judge who heard his plea indicated that a term of 78 to 97 months was likely under the sentencing guidelines. Continued cooperation with the federal government would probably further reduce that term. Perhaps Nav didn't like the risk/reward on protesting his innocence.

Sarao's conviction marks the third successful case brought against spoofers. In July of this year, Michael Coscia was sentenced to three years in jail for spoofing, and last month the CFTC agreed to settle spoofing charges with Igor Oystacher. The terms of that settlement have not been disclosed and the deal is currently awaiting final CFTC approval.