Software developer accused of spoofing seeks to nix “ostrich” jury instruction

Maria Nikolova

Jitesh Thakkar opposes the theory that he deliberately avoided learning that London-based trader Navinder Sarao would use Edge Financial’s program to spoof.

As the start of the trial against Jitesh Thakkar, the founder and principal of Edge Financial Technologies Inc., gets closer, the legal battle concerning evidence and jury instructions intensifies. Jitesh Thakkar is charged with spoofing and conspiracy to commit spoofing for trades made by London-based trader Navinder Sarao using Thakkar’s company software.

On Sunday, March 24, 2019, the defense counsel for Thakkar filed a motion with the Illinois Northern District Court, asking the Court to reject a proposed jury instruction by the US Government.

Jitesh Thakkar moves the Court to bar the government from offering the “ostrich” jury instruction at trial.

What’s an ostrich theory? The concept comes from behavioral finance. The ostrich effect is the attempt made by investors to avoid negative financial information. The name comes from the false legend that ostriches hide their heads in the sand to avoid danger.

Thakkar’s defense is now displeased with the US Government’s efforts to present their client as someone who avoided the information that his company’s software would be used to spoof.

In the motion filed on Sunday, the defense says the government changed its entire theory of the case and notified the defense of its intent to seek this instruction on Friday at 8:05 p.m. – just six days before jury selection was set to begin.

The defense stresses that during his interviews with the FBI in 2017, Jitesh Thakkar consistently explained to the government that he did not know how Sarao would use the computer program Edge Financial created and that traders do not reveal their trading strategies to programmers because those strategies are secret. The government disregarded these statements and presented a theory of the case that Jitesh had actual knowledge that Sarao would use the computer program to spoof.

Now, days before trial, the government seeks to present an entirely different theory in this case – that Jitesh deliberately avoided learning that Sarao would use the program to spoof.

The defense argues that allowing the government to present this new ostrich theory to the jury even though the defendant does not have time to retain and prepare witnesses on the proprietary and secret nature of trading strategies would present a misleading picture to the jury and deprive Jitesh Thakkar of his right to a fair trial.

Under these circumstances, the government’s proposed ostrich instruction must be rejected, the defense says.

    Read this next

    Fintech

    Revolut enables direct transfers from Singapore to Bangladesh and Kenya

    British fintech firm Revolut has broadened its array of services with the introduction of the “Mobile Wallets” feature in Singapore, facilitating direct money transfers to Bangladesh and Kenya.

    Digital Assets

    SBF claims “zero loss” to FTX customers, 100-year sentence is “grotesque”

    Sam Bankman-Fried, the former FTX CEO who was found guilty of fraud charges last year, is facing his sentencing next month. But before that day arrives, he’s making a plea for what he considers a fair shake.

    Digital Assets

    Bitcoin nears $62,000, sparking retail buying frenzy

    Bitcoin dashed past the $61,000 barrier on Wednesday, a peak it hadn’t touched since the waning days of November 2021.

    Market News

    OPEC+ Extension of Oil Output Cut Causes Rally

    The dynamics surrounding crude oil are indeed fascinating, given its unique role as both a globally traded commodity and a vital energy source deeply influenced by the OPEC+ alliance’s decisions.

    Institutional FX

    DKK reports 226% growth in 2023 with eyes on African expansion

    “Our numbers are beginning to show how we are powering, the growth required by emerging markets, and we plan for the success of our strategies to continue to thrive in 2024.”

    Industry News

    ‘WTF’ as in ‘What The Fraud?’, Sumsub’s new podcast on digital fraud

    “We found a lack of informative podcasts talking about digital fraud threats and prevention for business owners. So, we decided to dive in and share our expertise along with industry top minds in the ‘What The Fraud?’ podcast.”

    Digital Assets

    Coin Metrics integrates market data from Cboe Digital

    “We are pleased to work with Coin Metrics and believe that having quality and timely data, and systems to analyze that data, will help crypto markets mature as well as evolve to become a core component of a diversified investment portfolio. We are focused on providing access and solutions to the spot and derivatives crypto market in a way which mirrors an investor’s experience with traditional markets.”

    Fintech

    AU10TIX launches KYB solution to address regulatory requirements

    “Our customers have been requesting a comprehensive KYB solution, because money laundering and fraud have become far too prevalent in the corporate world. Our unified KYB/KYC solution is essential for identifying bad actors and maintaining a safe business environment in 2024.”

    Digital Assets

    Japan Is Rapidly Emerging As A Global Leader In Compliant Crypto Payments

    Japan is often hailed as one of the most forward-thinking nations in the crypto industry, with its government taking a very positive stance on the potential of concepts such as Web3. 

    <