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Flash Crash Prosecution

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2010-Flash Crash

The latest pretend prosecution for the 5-year-old Flash Crash of 2010 illustrates just how corrupt New York really is. They ONLY criminally prosecute people who are not from New York. The Madoff case blew up in their faces after countless warnings that there was a fraud reported by many in the industry, which they all ignored because it was New York City – The Promised Land Above the Law.

The CFTC and others have to justify their very existence by prosecuting anyone other than a New York banker, for they are simply off limits. As the saying reflects the true nature of the legal system in New York City – you do not shit where you eat. The lawyers always remark that those who work at the CFTC are the rejects from the SEC. They are more interested in protecting the main players to get one of those special jobs as a reward for their protection. Many articles have appeared about the “revolving door” at the SEC. The WSJ, Huffington PostCNBC, have all reported that this “revolving door” prevents enforcement, yet Congress protects the regulators who protect the banks – their main political contributors.

Cohen Alan

Firms routinely hire from the SEC and CFTC, and that makes those agencies mindful that you cannot bring a case against the big houses, or your career is toast. No law firm in NYC will hire someone who has prosecuted a major client. This is just how the regulators are kept in check. In our case, Goldman Sachs hired the court receiver Alan Cohen, who continued to run Princeton Economics even from the board of directors at Goldman Sachs.

The corruption in New York City is neck deep, and here comes another bogus prosecution to pretend the regulators actually do something for their pensions. Now a 36-year-old futures trader, Navinder Singh Sarao, who operated from his London-area home will fight extradition to the United States on criminal fraud charges wildly claiming that he had helped set off a huge crash in the United States stock market, known as the Flash Crash in 2010. The government admits that he was not the sole trader. They will not charge any bank for trading in the same manner, but they will charge an individual trader to PRETEND that they are vigilant in protecting the public. This is just total nonsense and that chart above proves the CFTC and the Justice Department are way off base.

My advice to Sarao is straightforward. Subpoena all trading records for that day at the CFTC to see who had what positions and what they did. You have to demonstrate that you were nothing in the mix of things. These people will never allow Sarao to have a real lawyer from outside of NYC. Stay away from NY lawyers, for they will never jeopardize their own business in town for a client. The government will freeze all his funds to make sure he gets a court appointed counsel who has a 99% near perfect track record of losing every case. Their job is not to defend clients, no matter what bullshit they tell you.

It appears that Sarao is the scapegoat. The government first claimed an automated sale algorithm at a mutual fund, widely identified as Waddell Reed, caused the crash. There was no mention of Sarao in the report, and there was no mention an unidentified individual trader that could have even been Sarao. That investigation should be subpoenaed immediately. No court appointed lawyer would dare ask for such a thing. The government naturally wants to prevent any real lawyers from interfering so that they can have control of the case and ensure they do not look like fools. Court appointed lawyers are absolutely clueless in international finance or markets, besides the fact that they maintain a 99% track record of perfectly throwing cases for the government to win. They are NOT about to bite the hand that feeds them. Typically, the court appointed boys are the misfits who cannot find a job otherwise.


The commodity broker is normally the government’s star witness to keep their license. Anything they say will be questionable. Already the Chicago broker RJ O’Brien, who cleared the trades for Navinder Sarao, has said the firm, “had no involvement in the trading decisions” of the trader, who had previously traded with MF Global. The spokeswoman added that RJ O’Brien, “had no involvement whatsoever with the individual or his company at the time of the Flash Crash in 2010 or for several years thereafter.” His account was with the notorious MF Global. Here we have a firm that stole clients’ money effectively, who was then granted a get out of jail free card by Obama. Now Corzine wants to start a hedge fund. They could show up as government witnesses. If so, subpoena the entire investigation into MF Global. But again, a court appointed lawyer will never do that either.

Aaron Watkins, representing the United States government, requested that bail for Sanao be denied because of the gravity of the charges and the potential prison time he faces. The course is to monitor all his communications and to deny him the right to defend against charges that are stupid, at best, and a cover-up if exposed in the light of day.

The CFTC and the Justice Department are accusing Sanao of wire fraud, commodities fraud, commodities manipulation, and spoofing, a form of market manipulation that is a new theory yet has been standard practice for decades. Prosecutors contend that Sanao made £26 million pounds, or $40 million, in illegal profits over four years. That is obviously not limited to the Flash Crash.

The British Judge showed the world how bad the justice system really has become, even in Britain. The judge granted bail at £5 million pounds, and made his parents put up £30,000. On top of that, his parents had to surrender their passports, as well as his two brothers. The judge effectively restrained his entire family for just being related to Sanao. When it came to putting up the family home as collateral, the judge, showing his bias if not racism, joked about the importance of a “family home”, asking where the other £26 million might be. He took a jab at Mr. Sarao that he could buy something “even more lush than Hounslow” which was aimed as a slur because they lived in a modest area for the reputation of his neighborhood, which is next to Heathrow Airport. That only raises the question: If Sanao made so much money, why did he not increase his living standard?

Part of the game the government always plays is to slander the individual, in an attempt to paint him as a greedy capitalist, relying upon hating the rich to convict him. They state in the criminal complaint that a month before the Flash Crash, Mr. Sarao set up a corporate entity in the Caribbean island of Nevis, calling his firm Nav Sarao Milking Markets. He was not working in an institution, nor did he have insider information. He was trading for himself as a small individual.

In the criminal complaint, Mr. Sarao is accused of entering and withdrawing thousands of orders, worth tens of millions of dollars, on hundreds of trading days to push down the price of futures contracts tied to the value of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index. This is what they are calling the practice of “spoofing”, but offer no evidence that they had any such impact.

Prosecutors contend that on the day of the Flash Crash, May 6th, Mr. Sarao placed large orders repeatedly over several hours, leaving the market vulnerable to big moves when another big trade would come in. They CANNOT prove that such orders did anything. That is all a matter of liquidity, and that is the culprit, for to this day liquidity is still off by 50% from 2007 levels.

This new claim that “spoofing” is manipulation is really bogus. That would be standard in trading on the floor all the time. We would call them “flash” bids or offers. Some traders were famous for it. They would quickly offer 1,000 lots to buy or sell and look away. It was not manipulation, for people would just not really pay attention. In fact, I would instruct my floor brokers to wait silently and pay attention to one of these types, and as soon as he would try a flask offer, buy it. In the 1980s, I took on one such traders and bought three 1,000 lot offers in gold in a row. The market then rallied like hell when they saw the flash boys met their match.  So if we want to call it “spoofing” – fine, but it has been going on for as long as I have been in the business. It would never be manipulation that was sustainable, for the market never departed from its broader trend in any event.

2010-Flash Crash-w

During the crash in May 2010, the Dow fell nearly 600 points in a matter of minutes. Yet we can see that the Flash Crash was perfectly within the bounds of normal market movement. True, this event rattled individual investors and institutional investors alike. Regulators have struggled to piece together what happened, offering up various explanations, many of which have been contested. Although the major indexes recovered the losses and moved to new highs rapidly, the government does not understand the mechanism behind the Flash Crash and think this will save face. Obviously, the exchanges and regulators cannot police the markets, for they do not understand how they function to start with. They proceed upon the same theory of Marx – that the business cycle can be defeated.