Judge Throws Out Trial of Barclay’s Trader Accused of Front-Running

Published On March 26, 2019

The trial of a Barclays foreign exchange trader, who had been accused of market manipulation, has been thrown out by a judge in the US.

In a rare move, the judge shut down the trial before it reached a jury on the grounds that the US options markets are similar to a poker game in the Wild West, rather than one governed by clearly defined rules of trust.

It had been alleged that the trader, Robert Bogucki, had depressed the value of Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) options by front-running ahead of its handling of an unwind of similar options for HP. It was suggested that conversations, instant chats and emails demonstrated a conspiracy to manipulate the market. However, Bogucki contended that the messages had been taken out of context.

The judge held that, based on the case put forward by the US government, there was no way that jurors could conclude that Barclays or Bogucki owed HP, whose options he was trading, a duty of trust.