For the record: My thoughts on WSJ report on the reopening of investigation into news agencies in lock-ups

Last week the Wall Street Journal reported:

WASHINGTON—Federal law-enforcement authorities have reversed course and revived an insider-trading probe into how media companies transmit government data to investors, according to people familiar with the matter.

The decision came after the Wall Street Journal in January disclosed the probe and reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was planning to wind down the investigation because it was having trouble proving wrongdoing. The FBI, which was conducting the probe with the Securities and Exchange Commission, was also frustrated that another agency, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, hadn’t provided data sought by investigators. The CFTC has since agreed to provide both trading data and analysis to further the investigation, according to officials familiar with the probe.

This part of the article, which describes why the investigation was called off, especially interests me:

Another reason was a breakdown between the FBI and CFTC. FBI agents made multiple requests to the markets regulator in 2012 for data that would help them understand which traders were behind the transactions, according to people familiar with the case. An official close to the criminal probe said the CFTC didn’t provide the data requested. An official close to the regulatory agency blamed the impasse on misunderstandings and confusion.

Since the Journal reported on the stalled probe in January, federal prosecutors have expressed renewed interest in the case and urged agents to keep gathering evidence. The FBI and CFTC are now collaborating to collect and analyze trading data in the case, according to officials familiar with the matter.

Hmm. How exactly does the CFTC get away with not complying with FBI requests?

My guess is that this is a battle between some very powerful interest groups and the decision to re-open the investigation stems from the fact that someone very high up the food chain isn’t willing to let it drop.

We shall see.

Please contact me at ann.brocklehurst@gmail.com if you can shed any light on these latest developments in this long-running story.

Tell us what you really think