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Former Deutsche Bank Trader Pleads Guilty to Spoofing Precious Metals Futures

First Published 5th June 2017

David Liew, formerly a junior precious metals trader with Deutsche Bank in Singapore, has been permanently banned from trading in CFTC-regulated markets. In court in Chicago last week, Liew pled guilty to charges of fraud for his role in spoofing and manipulating precious metals futures markets - gold, silver, platinum and palladium - between December 2009 and February 2012. His crimes included front-running client orders and trying to trip stop loss orders left with the bank.

The CFTC's order against Liew noted that in addition to his own market manipulation, he also "acted […] in coordination with a trader at another large financial institution", presumably another of the large bullion banks. Filings from the case show that Liew "was taught to spoof by other metals traders, including other metals traders at Bank A [Deutsche Bank]", who are described as "co-conspirators [also] engaged in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud". Liew is cooperating with the US government which suggests the "co-conspirators" might yet have their time in court.

Though the case was brought against Liew rather than Deutsche Bank, the bank has already paid a fine of 38 million USD and 60 million USD to settle allegations of manipulating the silver and gold markets, respectively. Those settlements were related to the cash markets, and specifically the LBMA fix, rather than the futures markets.