(Adds background on current CFTC cases)
WASHINGTON, June 10 The U.S. derivatives
regulator on Tuesday named a former federal prosecutor and
experienced trial lawyer as its new enforcement head, a rapid
hire only days after the agency's new chairman started his job.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission said it had
appointed Aitan Goelman, a litigation partner at law firm
Zuckerman Spaeder, as the regulator's new director of the
Division of Enforcement.
Goelman rose to some fame as one of the trial lawyers that
won conviction of Oklahoma City bombers Timothy McVeigh and
Terry Nichols for a 1995 truck bomb attack on the federal
government that killed 168 people.
"He will be a tough, aggressive and fair leader at a
critical time in the commission's history," CFTC Chairman
Timothy Massad said in a statement.
Massad, a former senior Treasury official, was himself sworn
in as the new head of the derivatives regulator on Thursday, two
days after the Senate gave him the green light.
Goelman previously was a former assistant U.S. attorney in
the Southern District of New York and a special attorney to the
U.S. Attorney General, the CFTC said.
The CFTC has sued a number of high-profile defendants in the
past few years - most notably Jon Corzine, the former head of
collapsed futures brokerage MF Global - and will either have to
litigate those cases or settle them.
It was put in charge of the U.S. part of the $710 trillion
swaps market in 2010, giving it a far bigger remit than before
the 2008 financial crisis when it only oversaw agricultural and
other futures markets.
Goelman takes over from Gretchen Lowe, who was acting
division head after the departure of David Meister, who forced a
number of record settlements on large Wall Street banks over
accusations they fixed the Libor interest rate benchmark.
Several more Libor cases are in the works. The CFTC is also
probing markets for possible manipulation of another widely used
benchmark underlying swaps contracts, the so-called ISDAfix
rate, and a number of other instruments.
Other than the case against Corzine, it has also filed a
complaint against Royal Bank of Canada for an unlawful
trading scheme to realize tax benefits, and against CME Group
Inc for leaking details on client trades.
The CFTC often settles cases with defendants, and has gone
to trial only three times since 2011, all in minor cases. It has
won all those cases.
Separately on Tuesday, the CFTC agreed in principle to
settle its oil manipulation case against two firms, Arcadia
Petroleum and Parnon Energy, taking a step closer to ending a
high-profile multi-year lawsuit.
(Reporting by Douwe Miedema; Editing by Eric Beech)