Release: 4880-04 (CFTC Docket No. 01-14)
U.S. COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION FINDS THAT NORMAN EISLER
MANIPULATED SETTLEMENT PRICES
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today the issuance of an order settling an enforcement action against Norman Eisler (Eisler) of White Plains, New York, former Chairman of the New York Futures Exchange (NYFE) and his trading company, First West Trading, Inc. (First West). The order arises out of a complaint the CFTC filed against Eisler and First West on July 11, 2001 (see CFTC News Release 4542-01, July 11, 2001) charging them with manipulation and making false reports under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations.
The order finds that from at least August 1999 to May 12, 2000, Eisler was the member of the New York Futures Exchange (NYFE) settlement committee responsible for determining settlement prices of the PSE Technology Index Option contract (P-Tech Options). As such, according to the order, Eisler was able to manipulate settlement prices of the P-Tech Options for the benefit of the First West trading account. The order states that Eisler’s manipulation inflated the value of the First West trading account by, on average, an excess of $2 million each day – an illegal activity that allowed Eisler to avoid or dramatically reduce margin calls against the First West account. Further, according to the order, Eisler caused written reports of the false settlement prices to be disseminated to the NYFE and members of the public.
The order further finds that during May 2000, despite his best efforts, Eisler was unable to maintain his positions in the market due to repeated margin calls. As a result, according to the order, on May 15, 2000, when Eisler no longer was involved in determining settlement prices of P-Tech Options, settlement prices changed significantly, causing the value of the First West account to decrease to a negative $4.8 million. The order finds that First West was unable to meet its margin calls, and the account was liquidated.
“The settlement announced today with these defendants should send a clear warning sign to those who aspire to manipulate any market within the Commission’s jurisdiction. The Division of Enforcement's attorneys and investigators will aggressively track and pursue your illegal conduct, and the result will be like a hailstorm: costly and painful,” said Gregory Mocek, Director of Enforcement at the Commission.
The CFTC's order, entered with the consent of Eisler and First West but without their admitting or denying the findings, requires them to pay a civil penalty of up to $4,923,000 for violating provisions of the CEA and regulations alleged in the complaint, and:
A copy of the CFTC order may be found at http://www.cftc.gov
The following Division of Enforcement staff are responsible for this case: Richard Glaser and Jed Silversmith.
# # #