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CFTC's evasion after 3 years investigating silver is answer enough

By: Chris Powell, Secretary/Treasurer, GATA

-- Posted 5 November, 2011 | |

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold (and Silver):

Under renewed pressure by Commissioner Bart Chilton to account for itself, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued a statement about its 3-year-old investigation of manipulation of the silver market, asserting only that the investigation continues.

Those who have been taking the CFTC investigation seriously may wax indignant over the delay in resolution. But the delay speaks for itself, and eloquently: Thanks to the complaint about market rigging by London silver trader Andrew Maguire and GATA's publicizing it at the CFTC's March 25, 2010, hearing and agitating about it afterward, the CFTC has probably realized that the rigging of the silver market is, like the rigging of the gold market, a U.S. Government operation conducted through intermediaries, primary dealers in U.S. Government securities, and thus can't be examined in public without crashing the operation and impugning the whole government of which the CFTC is a part.

The CFTC well may expect that the silver business can be resolved by a confidential settlement of the class-action lawsuit brought against the main silver market manipulator, JPMorganChase, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. (See the lawsuit's consolidated complaint here:

If the lawsuit survives a summary judgment dismissal motion by JPMorganChase, which seems likely, insofar as such a motion must presume that everything alleged in the complaint is true, the lawsuit may be worth a few hundred million dollars to the investment bank just to prevent any hostile law firms from inspecting its books and interrogating its traders and managers in court-ordered discovery and deposition. Such a settlement will make the plaintiffs' lawyers very rich and let the CFTC off the hook even as it leaves the public with no formal finding of what actually happened.

Will it end the manipulation of the silver market, or will that manipulation be ended by whatever futures market position limits the CFTC eventually decides to enforce? Maybe -- or maybe JPMorganChase will find intermediaries through which it can continue to enter the market in disproportionate size and thus continue to control it.

In any case silver investors probably should be thankful enough that the CFTC held that hearing a year ago in March and thankful particularly to Commissioner Chilton for insuring that GATA Chairman Bill Murphy and GATA Board of Directors member Adrian Douglas were allowed to speak and introduce Maguire's complaint in detail. On the day of the hearing silver was hovering around $15 per ounce and had been going nowhere in particular. By the end of the year it had doubled and this week it closed above $34, and there are many signs of its physical shortage as the paper hangers of the fractional-reserve precious metal banking system thrash around desperately to regain control of the market.

Anything beyond this would require one agency of the U.S. Government to execute other agencies of the government, agencies much bigger and more sinister. Most likely the CFTC would be executed first. Indeed, GATA often worries for Chilton's safety and is sometimes surprised that he hasn't already been found in circumstances making it appear that he had been struck by lightning, a meteorite, or a freight train.

So thanks, CFTC, but we don't need your silver investigation anymore. You've already told us all we need to know.

The CFTC's statement is appended.

Additional comments made by Chilton today to King World News, regarding the collapse of the trading firm MF Global, can be found here:

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

* * *

CFTC Statement Regarding Enforcement Investigation of the Silver Markets

Press Release
U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Friday, November 4, 2011

WASHINGTON -- The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued the following statement:

In September 2008 the commission announced the existence of an enforcement investigation into the possibility of unlawful acts in silver markets. Since that time, the staff has analyzed over 100,000 documents and interviewed dozens of witnesses and obtained expert advice. It has been a long, detailed, and thorough investigation, and it continues in an appropriate and considered manner."

* * *

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-- Posted 5 November, 2011 | |

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