US Department of Justice charged 3 JPMorgan Chase traders in gold and other costly metals with alleged market manipulation.
On Monday, the Justice Department said, the alleged conduct spanned eight years.
The government charged Michael Nowak who is a managing director, Gregg Smith who is an executive director and head of the bank’s global precious metals desk. Government officials said both were current employees as of Monday morning.
The third person charged is a former JPMorgan employee, Christopher Jordan.
On Monday, JPMorgan declined to comment. As a substitute, it referred to an earlier public filing in which it said it ‘is answering to and cooperating with these investigations.’
Between 2008 and 2016, Nowak, Smith, and Jordan supposedly manipulated prices of gold, platinum, silver, and palladium futures traded on the CME Commodity Exchange and the New York Mercantile Exchange.
FBI assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office, William F. Sweeney Jr., said in a statement, ‘Jordan, Nowak and Smith and their co-conspirators allegedly engaged in a difficult scheme to trade valuable metals in a way that badly affected the natural balance of supply-and-demand.
David Meister and Jocelyn Strauber, lawyers of Nowak, said in an emailed statement, ‘it’s truly unfortunate that the DOJ decided to go forward with a suit of Mike Nowak, who has done nothing immoral.’ ‘We expect him to be fully exonerated as we are looking forward to representing him at trial.’
An attorney for Jordan, James Benjamin, said in a statement that ‘Chris Jordan is not guilty of these heavy-handed charges, and we are going to defend him strongly.’ The lawyer for Smith declined to statement.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski, in a call with reporters, said, ‘We will follow the facts wherever they lead, whether further up in the institutions or to banks.’
On Monday, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission also filed a civil enforcement action against Nowak and Smith.
In a series of cases involving commodities fraud, The Justice Department said the indictments are the latest that have resulted in eight guilty appeals and one 36-month prison sentence, with half a dozen others waiting. One case ended in exoneration and one in a mistrial.