by Jonathan Stempel
JPMorgan Chase & Co on Wednesday won the dismissal of three private antitrust lawsuits, including from hedge fund manager Daniel Shak, accusing the largest U.S. bank of rigging a market for silver futures contracts traded on COMEX.
The lawsuits accused JPMorgan of having in late 2010 and early 2011 placed artificial bids onto the trading floor, harangued employees at metals market COMEX to obtain prices it wanted, and made misrepresentations to a committee that set settlement prices.
This allegedly squeezed traders like Shak, who is also known for playing high-stakes poker, forcing them to post more capital to support their positions in silver futures spreads, and ultimately liquidate them at heavy losses.
U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer in Manhattan, however, said the plaintiffs, who also included traders Mark Grumet and Thomas Wacker, did not show that JPMorgan made “uneconomic” bids, or intended to rig the market at counterparties’ expense.