Release Number 7517-17

January 19, 2017

Enforcement Director Aitan Goelman to Leave CFTC

Washington, DC — U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Timothy Massad today announced that Division of Enforcement Director Aitan Goelman will leave the agency on February 3, 2017. During Mr. Goelman’s tenure, the Division brought a number of first-in-kind cases utilizing the new enforcement authorities created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Division also imposed and collected a record amount of monetary sanctions as it fulfilled its mission of protecting investors from being victimized by fraud and manipulation, and safeguarding the integrity of the financial markets overseen by the Commission.

Chairman Massad said: “During my confirmation hearing, I pledged that one of my priorities would be robust enforcement, because it is critical to maintaining the integrity of our markets. Aitan Goelman has delivered. Under his leadership, we have won path-breaking cases in spoofing and manipulation, protected investors from fraudulent actors, held firms accountable for misdeeds, and secured judgments of hundreds of millions of dollars in restitution for victims. We have also imposed penalties of more than seven times our aggregate budgets during the same period. In short, Aitan and his team have done a terrific job. I thank him for his service to our country, and I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

Commissioner J. Christopher Giancarlo added: "Under Mr. Goelman's leadership the CFTC's Division of Enforcement has taken its place as one of the premier law enforcement arms of the federal government. The Division's role is essential in ensuring Americans that our markets are safe, secure and free of manipulation."

Commissioner Sharon Bowen added: “I want to thank Aitan for his tireless efforts in furthering the CFTC’s mission to protect market users and their funds, consumers, and the public from fraud, manipulation, and abusive practices. Under his skilled leadership, the entire Division of Enforcement has worked diligently to file substantive and substantial cases that not only brought wrong doing to light, but put the world on notice that there is a cop on the beat protecting the derivatives markets we regulate. I have enjoyed working with him and his team and wish him the very best.”

Mr. Goelman said: “It has been a true privilege to lead this remarkable Division, which battles every day through adversity to get the job done for the American People. The men and women in the Division are as talented, committed and resourceful as any group of professionals in the government, and together we’ve been able to accomplish some remarkable things. I’d like to thank the employees of the Division, and of the Commission in general, for their devotion and assistance. I’d also like to thank Chairman Massad for giving me the opportunity to do this job, for his trust and confidence, and for his commitment to the pursuit of justice. I am also deeply grateful to Commissioners Giancarlo and Bowen for their steadfast support of the enforcement program.”

During Mr. Goelman’s tenure, the Division filed hundreds of successful enforcement actions covering the full gamut of the Commission’s authority. For example, it brought groundbreaking cases under several of the new Dodd-Frank authorities, including the anti-spoofing provision, the new anti-manipulation authority in Rule 180.1, and the Commission’s new authority over the swaps markets. The Division brought the first-ever cases involving crypto-currency, through which the Commission found that crypto-currency did, under certain circumstances, qualify as a “commodity” under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).

Under Mr. Goelman, the Division imposed more than $7 billion in monetary sanctions against a wide array of defendants. These actions include record fines and collections for a single case, as well as record totals for a single day and for a fiscal year.

The Division also increased its cooperation with other federal, state, and foreign civil regulators and criminal authorities. This led to an increase in criminal prosecutions for CEA violations and high profile criminal matters like the successful prosecution of Nav Sarao for spoofing and manipulation. The Division’s close working relationship with foreign authorities allowed it to pursue a host of matters with misconduct that crossed over international borders, and to better coordinate international resolutions, like its November 12, 2014 settlements for over $1.4 billion with five international banks for manipulating foreign exchange benchmarks relied on by companies and individuals around the world. On the same day, settlements with the same defendants were announced by authorities in the U.K. and Switzerland, as well as by U.S. prudential regulators.

Finally, under Mr. Goelman’s leadership, the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program has achieved a heightened profile and effectiveness. In 2016, the Commission awarded its first ever whistleblower award of more than $10 million, and the program continues to see an increase in the number and quality of tips that it receives.

Before joining the CFTC, Mr. Goelman was a litigation partner in the law firm of Zuckerman Spaeder. Prior to that, he served for nine years in the Department of Justice, first as a Honor Graduate in the Criminal Division, then as a trial attorney on the Oklahoma City Bombing Task Force, and finally as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York. Mr. Goelman graduated from Yale Law School in 1993, after which he clerked for Justice Aharon Barak of the Supreme Court of Israel.

Media Contact
Dennis Holden


Last Updated: January 19, 2017