The two Norwegian day traders, charged with market manipulation for having outsmarted the Timber Hill trading robot, was Wednesday morning convicted in Oslo District Court. Svend Egil Larsen and Peder Veiby received a suspended sentence of, respectively, 90 and 120 days in jail. In addition, the profits made on the trading is being revoked. However, this story is far from over.
“It kinda sucks to be convicted of something the whole industry believes should be allowed.”
Svend Egil Larsen
Svend Egil Larsen and Peder Veiby were both found guilty in the Oslo District Court, Wednesday, of having manipulated the stock market. The Norwegian authorities believe that the two day traderne violates acceptable market behavior, and that their trades caused the Timber Hill trading robot to move the share prices without a legitimate reason. The so-called robot case is likely to end up in the Supreme Court of Norway.
According to the court ruling, the two have deliberately manipulated the stock market.
Svend Egil Larsen is sentenced to 90 days in jail (suspended sentence) and confiscation of NOK 105.000 kroner.
Peder Veiby got a 120 days suspended prison sentence and confiscation of NOK 165,000.
Both traders have been given a probation period of two years, according to the court documents.
No Man Against Machine
Police Attorney Christian Stenberg made clear during his procedure that this is not a matter of “man against machine”.
The authorities believe the behavior of the two day traders violates acceptable market behavior, and that the trades that caused the Timber Hill robot to move the prices did not have a legitimate reason.
“The court have found it proven that defendants intermediate trade orders, the order was entered after the initial purchase/sale, and before they reversed their positions and started the trading strategy over again, was added with a purpose to make the TMB raise or lower its prices,” the verdict says.
Manipulated The Whole Market
The judges believe the two gave false and misleading signals about supply and demand, as well as the price of the shares involved.
“The defendants did not buy or sell on these intermediate transactions. The purpose was solely to provoke a reaction in the TMB system, so that the accused could buy or sell at more favorable prices,” the court ruling says
The three judges have also found it proven that the two day traders deliberately manipulated the whole stock market.
“The defendants did not only try to profit from price volatility in the market, which is normal in day trading, they also sought to profit from price reductions in a market they created themselves. By influencing another party – Timber Hill – it had an impacted on the whole market.”
“I believe that the court is interpreting the law incorrectly, and also interprets the purpose of the law wrong,” says defence lawyer Anders Brosveet to the website DN.no.
He says he is very surprised by today’s ruling at the Oslo District Court.
“The main issue is that there were in fact real transactions completed, transactions that in my opinion will never meet the statutory criteria of being false, inaccurate or misleading,” says Brosveet with reference to the Norwegian Securities Act, paragraph 17-3.
The now-named “robot case” has caused debate amongst both Norwegian and international financial market participants.
“We have seen that this is an issue of such fundamental principles that it probably will end up in the Supreme Court,” Brosveet says.
“Of course, we’re gonna appeal this,” he says, hurrying to reach another case in the Norwegian Supreme Court. “I’m sure this case will end up there, too,” he concludes.
“I’m very surprised,” the convicted day trader Svend Egil Larsen says, according to stocklink.no.
Larsen will now to go through the verdict with his attorneys before making a final decision. However, he does not hide the fact that they are already considering an appeal.
“My lawyer is going to read the verdict more closely to understand what the court’s intentions really is. Based on what we have read so far, we are going to appeal,” Larsen says.
Adding: “It kinda sucks to be convicted of something the whole industry believes should be allowed.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Larsen and Mr. Veiby seems to have the full support of everyone, besides the Oslo District Court and the Oslo Stock Exchange.
“The court believes that the two defendants acted deliberately. Undoubtedly. The court also believes that the two accused had knowledge of how the Timber Hills machine acted. Undoubtedly. The two found a weakness and exploited it. It is also true that their trades moved the price of these illiquid stocks. But it is almost completely incomprehensible how this could be illegal.”
Related by the Econotwist’s:
- In Defence Of A Robot
- Update: Day Traders Crack The Timber Hill Trading System
- Espen G. Haug: Algorithms Should Be Monitored On A Daily Basis
- Illegal To Outsmart A Trading Robot, Expert Says
- Oslo Stock Exchange Comments On Market Manipulation