Steven Perkins, a former oil futures broker for PVM Oil Futures Ltd, went on an unauthorised trading shopping spree after a heavy weekend of drinking and bought 7 million barrels of oil.
This not only moved the market up to an ‘abnormal and artificial’ level of $73.50 per barrel, he also managed to rack up trades worth $520 million.
Perkins’s job was to trade Brent Crude Futures on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) on an execution only basis. But in the small hours on that fateful drunken day he traded without any client authorisation.
After his drunken splurge in the early hours of Tuesday 30th June 2009 he then called his office and tried to lie his way out of the mess.
Perkins has admitted to alcoholism and straight away went on a drying out course. The FSA have given him a trading ban of five years minimum but shied away from a lifetime ban as he may well recover and end up as no longer a danger to the markets.
The FSA director of Markets, Alexander Justham said "The FSA views market manipulation extremely seriously. Perkins' trading caused disruption to the market and has been met with both a fine and prohibition. This reinforces the fact that a severe sanction will apply in cases of market manipulation, even where no profit is made. Perkins' drunkenness does not excuse his market abuse. Perkins has been banned because he is not a fit and proper person to be involved in regulated activities and his behaviour posed a risk to the proper functioning of the market."
His transgressions could have earned Perkins a Â£150,000 fine, but it was reduced to Â£90,000 as it would have caused him ‘serious financial hardship’. This was further reduced by 20% to Â£72,000 as he agreed to settle.