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Software Execs Acquittal Could Rein In Spoofing Cases

April 5, 2019, Law360

Laura Brookover spoke with Law360 regarding a recent a spoofing case involving software executive, Jitesh Thakkar, on a charge of creating a program to manipulate the commodities market. Mr. Thakkar was acquitted midtrial, but prosecutors are still moving forward with charges of aiding and abetted a U.K.-based trader’s “flash crash” spoofing scheme.

 

Because the judge gave Thakkar only a partial win on his motion for acquittal, it shows the judge thinks there is still a possibility he could be convicted for aiding and abetting Sarao’s criminal conduct based on what evidence the jury has seen, said Ms. Brookover. She says, “I think we still need to see how this goes. You also have to consider that this testimony is coming from a cooperating witness. For a cooperating witness, this testimony is not a very strong condemnation of Thakkar, and I think the defense was able to effectively use that to their advantage.”

 

Ms. Brookover agrees that Thakkar’s conspiracy acquittal could cause the government to “be more cautious about these types of cases” when considering whether to extend a criminal spoofing indictment beyond traders themselves. “That said, I’m not sure how much the government was going to focus on software programmers anyway.”

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