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Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

JPMorgan will pay $920 million to settle charges that its commodity trading desk manipulated the market, allowing the bank to rake in millions of dollars in profits, the government alleged.

Why it matters: It's the largest fine ever imposed for a "spoofing" case — and a milestone for government efforts to clamp down on the trading tactic criminalized after the financial crisis.

What they're saying: JPMorgan's "illegal trading significantly benefited JPM and harmed other market participants," the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a key regulator, said in a release announcing the penalty.

Details: The case alleged JPMorgan trading desks placed hundreds of thousands of orders for trades they intended to cancel. The orders flooded the silver, gold and other metals and treasuries markets and manipulated prices in a way that would later benefit the bank. This is known as spoofing.

  • JPMorgan admitted to wrongdoing, though no restrictions were placed on the bank for the misconduct.
  • Three agencies — the Justice Department, the Securities & Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission — were involved in the probes.

Flashback: Prosecutors charged former JPMorgan traders one year ago for "widespread spoofing" that spanned nearly a decade.

  • Two traders have already pleaded guilty, while four others are fighting the charges.
  • In 2015, JPMorgan settled with the DOJ and Federal Reserve and paid a $550 million fine for its role in manipulating the foreign exchange markets.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Oct 16, 2020 - Economy & Business

Bank earnings soar again, even as their stock prices remain stagnant

Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley all saw trading revenue rise more than 20% in the third quarter, with Morgan Stanley's earnings report Thursday showing profits jumped 25% from a year earlier to $2.72 billion and a 16% increase in revenue, which rose to $11.7 billion.

The big picture: Even after lackluster headline earnings from Bank of America and Wells Fargo, the five biggest U.S. investment banks are on pace to rake in $100 billion in trading revenue this year.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Reports: Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" and were due to travel to another destination when the gang struck in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

5 hours ago - World

Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne spent longer under lockdown than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.