CFTC on Aiding & Abetting

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) yesterday announced a settlement with Lansing Trading Group, LLC that resolves allegations of attempted market manipulation and, separately, aiding and abetting attempted market manipulation. Although this settlement involved wheat and corn, its takeaways are worth noting to traders of any commodity. Lansing agreed to pay a civil penalty of $3.4 million, plus a CME Group fine of $3.15 million, and also agreed to implement new compliance measures. The CFTC and CME Group coordinated their investigations and contemporaneously issued separate but...

Risky Business, Voldemort and Force Majeure: The Tale of the West Leo Rig

With apologies to movie fans everywhere, this briefing has nothing to do with Tom Cruise’s 1983 comedy or the Harry Potter films. Rather, it actually concerns the recent English High Court decision in Seadrill Ghana Operations Limited -v- Tullow Ghana Limited [2018] EWHC 1640 . The case relates to an agreement for the hire of ‘West Leo’ (an ultra-deep-water semi-submersible oil rig) and its ultimate termination by Tullow Ghana Limited for force majeure. The broad backdrop to that termination involves a confluence of issues including a territorial sea dispute between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire,...

Lucia v. SEC and the status of FERC ALJs

On June 21, 2018, the Supreme Court held that the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) are “officers of the United States” whose appointments are therefore subject to the Appointments Clause of the Constitution for their actions to be valid. [1] This decision by the nation’s highest court naturally raises questions regarding the legitimacy of ALJs in other agencies of the federal government such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”). FERC’s ALJs, however, come to their positions in a manner different from that of the SEC and have a...
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When is a Seat not a Seat?

The recent English High Court decision in Atlas Power Ltd -v- National Transmission and Despatch Co Ltd [2018] EWHC 1052 concerns a number of power purchase agreements entered into by Pakistani independent power producers and the national grid company of Pakistan. It highlights the pitfalls of overly complex drafting in an arbitration agreement and the importance of clearly specifying the seat of arbitration. The key points arising from the decision are: It is the seat of arbitration that determines the curial law of the arbitration, not the governing law of the contract. The choice of the...

Vanessa Allen Sutherland Stepping Down as Chair of U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board

Vanessa Allen Sutherland just announced that she is resigning from the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB). President Barack Obama nominated Sutherland to be Chairperson, and she was confirmed in August 2015. Ms. Sutherland's resignation will be effective in June. During her three years as Chair, Ms. Sutherland helped the agency to close 12 incident investigations, and she was a tireless advocate for the importance of the Board's mission. The CSB investigates the root cause of industrial chemical incidents and advocates for the implementation of safety recommendations to...

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