Software developer accused of spoofing secures partial acquittal

Maria Nikolova

The Court has granted Jitesh Thakkar’s motion for judgment of acquittal on Count 1 of the Indictment (Conspiracy to Commit Spoofing).

Jitesh Thakkar, a software developer accused of spoofing, has managed to secure partial acquittal. On April 4, 2019, the Illinois Northern District Court granted Thakkar’s motion of acquittal on Count 1 of the Indictment – that is, Conspiracy to Commit Spoofing.

Let’s recall that, Thakkar, whose program was used for spoofing by London-based trader Navinder Sarao, was charged in an indictment filed in the Northern District of Illinois with one count of conspiracy to commit spoofing and two counts of spoofing. The indictment alleges that Thakkar and his co-conspirators developed and delivered a customized software program that was used by Thakkar’s co-conspirator to engage in spoofing, including in the market for E-Mini S&P 500 futures contracts (“E-Mini”) on the CME. The indictment further charges Thakkar with spoofing in the E-Mini market on or about February 25, 2013 and March 8, 2013.

In a motion filed earlier this week, the defense counsel has argued that the Court should enter judgment of acquittal on Count I, as the only alleged co-conspirator and the government’s main witness admitted on the stand that there was no conspiracy between him and Jitesh Thakkar.

Jitesh Thakkar, in his interviews with FBI agents that were admitted into evidence, denied that he ever agreed with Sarao to commit spoofing. Sarao was the government’s witness, testifying pursuant to a plea deal under which he promised to cooperate with the government in exchange for a recommendation for a reduced sentence. Sarao likewise denied that he ever entered into a conspiracy with Jitesh Thakkar, and he denied that there was any agreement with Jitesh Thakkar to commit spoofing.

The defense has insisted that the government has offered no more than a “gut feeling” that Jitesh Thakkar conspired with Sarao.

Although Jitesh Thakkar has managed to get acquitted on Count 1, he still faces charges on Counts 2 and 3. Counts 2 and 3 will be given to the jury only on aiding and abetting.

The jury trial is continued for closing arguments and instructions to April 8, 2019. 

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