Source: Fierce Finance

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP announced today that JP Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and HSBC Securities Inc. (NYSE:HBC) face charges of manipulating the market for silver futures and options in violation of federal commodities and racketeering laws in a new lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The suit – which alleges violation of the Commodity Exchange Act and the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act – alleges that the two banks colluded to manipulate the market for silver futures starting in the first half of 2008 by amassing huge short positions in silver futures contracts they had no intent to fill, but did so to force silver prices down to their benefit.

The suit was filed on behalf of Carl Loeb, an independent investor in silver futures and options, by Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, a class-action and complex litigation firm.

“The practice of naked short-selling has long been a serious issue on Wall Street,” said Steve Berman, co-counsel and managing partner at Hagens Berman. “What we know about the scope and intent of JP Morgan and HSBC’s actions in this short-selling scheme dwarfs any other similar attempt to manipulate a commodities market.”

According to the complaint, JP Morgan amassed a sizeable short position in silver futures and options in part through its March 2008 acquisition of investment bank Bear Stearns. By August 2008, JP Morgan and London-based HSBC controlled more than 85 percent of the commercial net short position in silver futures contracts.

The suit alleges that, starting in early 2008, the two banks began manipulating the silver futures market by accumulating unusually large “short” positions and then secretly coordinating enormous sales of silver futures contracts on the Commodity Exchange, which is known as “COMEX” and is part of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

According to the lawsuit, JP Morgan and HSBC used a variety of methods to coordinate their manipulation of the market for silver futures contracts, signaling when to flood the COMEX market with short positions, which caused the price of silver futures and options contracts to crash.

The suit describes two “crash” events that were set in motion by JP Morgan and HSBC, one in March 2008, and the other in February 2010, after the defendants had amassed large short positions. In the wake of both events, the suit alleges, COMEX silver futures prices collapsed.

“We believe that JP Morgan and HSBC’s scheme was carefully conceived and coordinated to maximize their profits at the expense of innocent investors who believed that they were trading in a market free from manipulation,” Berman said.

Read more: Hagens Berman Announces JP Morgan and HSBC Face RICO Charges in Silver Futures Class Action Lawsuit – FierceFinance http://www.fiercefinance.com/press-releases/hagens-berman-announces-jp-morgan-and-hsbc-face-rico-charges-silver-futures-class-act?utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss#ixzz14HKVgpYg

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