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Thursday
Jul122018

CFTC awards whistleblower $30 million

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced an award of $30 million to a whistleblower Thursday, the biggest award ever under the CFTC's whistleblower program.

The agency said the whistleblower "voluntarily provided key original information that led to a successful enforcement action."

No information was released about the whistleblower or the tip they provided.

(By law, the CFTC protects the confidentiality of whistleblowers and doesn't disclose information that might directly or indirectly reveal their identity.)

But the Wall Street Journal's Henry Cutter reported that the whistleblower alerted regulators to conflicts of interest at JPMorgan Chase. The CFTC was involved because some client money was in commodity-related investments.

Cutter said,

Edward Siedle, a former Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer who does forensic investigations in the investment-management industry, said he alerted regulators to the JPMorgan Chase matter and handled whistleblower claims at both the CFTC and SEC on his own behalf.

The award is the fifth under the CFTC’s whistleblower program and the first award since August 2016.

The prior largest CFTC whistleblower award was $10 million in April 2016.

In Thursday's redacted award determination (pdf), the CFTC said it denied awards in the same case to four others who didn't meet the requirements.

The CFTC is an independent federal agency. It regulates the U.S. derivatives markets, including futures, options, and swaps.

The agency's enforcement division investigates violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and the CFTC Regulations -- such as fraud, market manipulation, and illegal trade practices.

The CFTC’s whistleblower program was created by section 748 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

The program rewards people who voluntarily report violations of the Commodity Exchange Act if the information leads to a successful CFTC enforcement action resulting in sanctions of more than $1 million.

The CFTC whistleblower website is here.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.