Chat logs introduced as evidence by prosecutors at the Chicago spoofing trial of two former precious-metals traders for Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit show one of them, Edward Bases, bragging about how easy it was to manipulate prices.

On Jan. 28, 2009, when Bases was working at Deutsche Bank AG, he put out bids to buy 2,740 gold futures contracts valued around $244 million over the course of four and a half minutes, according to Maria Garibotti, a vice president at Analysis Group who studied exchange and trading data for prosecutors. More than 98% were canceled without being filled, she said.  

As prices rose, a fellow Deutsche Bank trader Bases coordinated with sold his 170 contracts valued at $15,172,500, Garibotti told jurors on Wednesday. Her testimony continued Thursday.

“that does show u how easy it is to manipulate it sometimes,” Bases wrote minutes after the trading in a chat message sent to the other Deutsche Bank trader, Cedric Chanu, according to Garibotti. Chanu and another Deutsche Bank trader, James Vorley, were sentenced last month to a year in prison each for their convictions in 2020 on spoofing charges at a separate trial.

“I f..k the mkt around a lot,” Bases said in another message.

Bases and fellow Merrill Lynch trader John Pacilio face federal fraud charges for allegedly spoofing the futures market from 2008 to 2014.