Australian trader accused of spoofing secures continuance in civil lawsuit

Maria Nikolova

The hearing in a CFTC action against Jiongsheng (“Jim”) Zhao gets rescheduled until March 2020.

Jiongsheng (“Jim”) Zhao, an Australian trader accused of engaging in an illicit trading practice known as “spoofing”, has secured another continuance in the civil lawsuit brought by the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) against him.

Earlier today, the Honorable Sara L. Ellis of the Illinois Northern District Court granted the defendant’s motion to continue the status hearing. The Court stroke the status date set for January 21, 2020 and reset it to March 26, 2020.

Zhao had argued for the postponement because of his upcoming sentencing in a related criminal case. The delay is set to provide sufficient time for resolution of the civil matter following Zhao’s sentencing.

In its Complaint, the CFTC alleges that from at least July 2012 through at least March 2017, Zhao repeatedly engaged in manipulative or deceptive acts in the E-mini S&P 500 futures contract market on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). Zhao is alleged to have employed a practice known as “spoofing” (bidding or offering with the intent to cancel the bid or offer before execution). He placed an order that he wanted to execute and thereafter entered a larger order on the opposite side of the market that he intended to cancel before execution. In placing these larger spoof orders, Zhao intentionally or recklessly sent false signals of increased supply or demand designed to trick market participants into executing against the orders he wanted filled.

Zhao is alleged to have engaged in the deceptive pattern approximately 2,300 times, which included 3,100 discrete instances of spoofing.

The CFTC is seeking civil monetary penalties, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, trading and registration bans, and a permanent injunction against further violations of the federal commodities laws.

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