REPS LIEU AND RICE CALL FOR INVESTIGATION INTO SUSPICIOUS FUTURES TRADING AROUND GEOPOLITICAL EVENTS, TRUMP STATEMENTS

October 18, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON Today, former prosecutors Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) and Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (D-NY) sent letters to the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission calling for an investigation following a Vanity Fair report of the suspicious timing around sales of e-mini futures contracts immediately prior to major geopolitical events or statements from Donald Trump. The trades may be coincidental, but their timing and scale raise serious suspicions about whether the traders received material nonpublic information that would affect the S&P and how they received such information.

In the letters, the Members write:

We write to urge you to investigate potentially unlawful behavior related to the trading of electronically traded futures contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in the last several months.

On October 16, Vanity Fair reported on numerous instances in which individuals or groups of individuals made millions, and in some cases billions, of dollars in profits by trading large numbers of Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P) e-mini futures contracts immediately prior to major geopolitical events. In each of these instances, the e-mini contracts were traded within days, and often within hours, of the S&P rising or falling sharply. The trades preceded such events as the Saudi Aramco attack as well as announcements related to progress in talks between the United States and China over the trade war and the withdrawal of the extradition bill in Hong Kong. In one case occurring in August, the trader or traders made $1.5 billion when the S&P rose after President Trump lied about phone calls taking place between United States and Chinese officials.

While the aforementioned trades may be purely coincidental, their timing and scale raise serious suspicions about whether the traders received material nonpublic information that would affect the S&P and how they received such information. We urge you to swiftly investigate whether trading on insider information or any other fraudulent behavior occurred in relation to these trades.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

TED LIEU           KATHLEEN RICE

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