Public Statements & Remarks

Remarks of Chairman Tarbert at Awards Ceremony Recognizing the Department of Justice’s Fraud Section

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

December 10, 2020

The CFTC and the Department of Justice’s Fraud Section have had a strong historic relationship, including significant actions in the LIBOR and other benchmark areas. But I think everyone would agree that the past few years have been the high-water mark for the relationship between our organizations. 

In Fiscal Year 2020, the CFTC filed the most cases in parallel with federal criminal authorities in our enforcement program’s history, tying the previous high set in 2019. During both years, many of the most significant actions were brought in parallel with the Fraud Section. But it goes beyond the number of cases filed. The substantive impact that these cases have had on the markets and the development of the law is the thing of which we are the most proud.

The spoofing area has, of course, been an area of particularly active enforcement. Working alongside the Fraud Section, the CFTC filed numerous record-breaking cases in terms of size of monetary resolution, and we developed numerous aspects of the law in prosecuting our respective cases.  Working alongside each other, our programs also changed the way law enforcement uses data analytics to find and prosecute illegal trading patterns. It is no understatement to say that this group has been on the cutting edge of data analytics in white-collar enforcement.  

What started all the way back with the Navinder Sarao matter when Rob Zink was a line attorney, blossomed into a major area of white-collar law under his leadership, and with significant recognition owed to Avi Perry and his team in charging and trying numerous spoofing cases around the country. 

And, particularly with respect to the most spoofing significant matters filed in the past few years, we greatly appreciated the leadership of your former head of the Criminal Division, Brian Benczkowski, and his successor, Brian Rabbitt. 

Of course, the recent groundbreaking Vitol matter cannot go unmentioned. We very much appreciate the assistance of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) unit, under Dan Kahn’s leadership. With this action and hopefully more to come, I believe this group has significantly changed the landscape of this important area of white-collar law enforcement—a major accomplishment.

Recognizing your leadership in advancing a cooperative relationship between the CFTC and DOJ Fraud Section, and helping to protect the public from wrongdoers and preserve the integrity of the U.S. derivatives markets, it is therefore my great pleasure and honor to award Avi, Dan, Rob, Brian, and Brian, the CFTC Chairman’s Award for Regulatory Excellence.

I’ll close by saying this—one of the CFTC’s strategic goals under my chairmanship was to be tough on those that break the rules. In pursuing this goal, we know there is no greater deterrent than the prospect of criminal prosecution—and the reality of time in jail. When those criminal penalties are added to the broader range of other remedies the CFTC can impose, the result is a robust combination of sanctions, which can be tailored to the violation at issue to achieve optimal deterrence. 

We genuinely appreciate the role the Fraud Section has placed in supporting our mission. And we are very hopeful that our programs will continue to have a strong relationship for many years to come. Thank you very much.