Jitesh Thakkar, a programmer for flash-crash spoofer Navinder Sarao, and his software development firm, Edge Financial Technologies, Inc., renewed their motion for summary judgment to end the Commodity Futures Trading Commission enforcement action against them charging them with aiding and abetting Mr. Sarao's illicit conduct. The CFTC alleged that the defendants developed a “back-of-book” function for Mr. Sarao that automatically and continuously modified his spoofing orders by one lot to move them to the back of relevant order queues (to minimize their chance of being executed) and cancelled all his spoofing orders at one price level as soon as any portion of an order was executed. Defendants initially moved for summary judgment in September 2019 following the decision of the Department of Justice not to again prosecute them criminally after a jury failed to convict Mr. Thakkar of aiding and abetting Mr. Sarao's spoofing. The federal court hearing the CFTC's enforcement matter declined to grant the motion at the time saying the motion was premature, but invited defendants to refile it later. (Click here for details in the article "Court Denies Summary Judgment Motion of Purported Programmer for Flash Crash Spoofer – For Now" in the September 15, 2019 edition of Bridging the Week.)
In again requesting an order for summary judgment, defendants argued that they have made a substantial additional production of documents since their last motion, including providing the CFTC – at Mr. Thakkar's own expense – with more than 800,000 pages of documents given to Mr. Thakkar by the DOJ during his criminal action.
In response, the CFTC asked that the court deny defendants' motion, arguing that there are still open discovery issues and that it desires to take the depositions of four former Edge employees who helped develop and test the software Mr. Thakkar purportedly designed for Mr. Sarao. The CFTC claimed that the results of the discovery and testimony could help "in shedding light" on Mr. Thakkar's understanding of Mr. Sarao's trading objectives.