Statement of Chairman Rostin Behnam at Press Conference Announcing Enforcement Action Involving Manipulation and Corruption in the U.S. and Global Oil Markets
May 24, 2022
Good afternoon. Thank you, Attorney General Garland and all of our law enforcement partners for working closely with the CFTC after we brought this activity to light.
Today, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission resolved charges against Glencore International A.G., Glencore Ltd., and Chemoil Corporation. This settlement represents the largest settlement in CFTC history. Glencore is one of the world’s largest commodity trading firms, and a major participant in the global oil markets. The deceptive and corrupt conduct was deliberate, long-standing, and egregious in that it involved a concerted effort by individuals at all levels within the oil trading group—including its most senior leadership—to undermine the pricing mechanism on which trillions of dollars of financial derivatives contracts, which the CFTC oversees, are based.
Glencore’s conduct included manipulating, or attempting to manipulate, publicly available price benchmarks for multiple fuel oil products. Glencore’s manipulation was intended to alter and influence benchmarks to benefit Glencore’s financial and physical positions and increase profits to the tune of over $320 million dollars.
When individuals and entities seek to disrupt the reliability of benchmarks, they interfere with the proper functioning of the markets that directly impact consumers. Without question: manipulating oil markets can drive up the cost Americans pay at the pump or to heat their homes. And today my message to the markets is clear: the CFTC will continue to pursue even the slightest hint of manipulative, corrupt, or fraudulent behavior.
I want to commend the incredible work of Gates Hurand, Peter Janowski, Jacob Mermelstein, David MacGregor, Stephen Painter, Michael Cazakoff, Matthew Edelstein, Patrick Marquardt, Jordon Grimm, Lenel Hickson, and Manal Sultan.
I want to thank the Department of Justice’s Market Integrity and Major Frauds unit, the Department of Justice’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Unit, and the assistance our law enforcement partners in Brazil, Bermuda, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Mexico and Uruguay.
The CFTC is focused on ensuring the transparency, credibility, and integrity of commodity markets. Where wrongdoers seek illicit gains through interference and manipulative practices, the CFTC will be thorough, aggressive, and unrelenting in our response. Thank you.