The Commodity Futures Trading Commission agreed to settle an enforcement action against Brian Hunter related to his involvement in an alleged attempted manipulation of natural gas futures contracts on two days in February and April 2006. Under the terms of the settlement, Mr. Hunter will pay a fine of US $750,000. Mr. Hunter had been named, along with Amaranth Advisors, LLC and Amaranth Advisors (Calgary) ULC in a 2007 lawsuit brought by the CFTC in a US federal court in New York City. At the relevant time, Mr. Hunter was president of Amaranth Advisors. According to the CFTC’s complaint, defendants’ alleged manipulation involved the prior purchase and then subsequent sale of substantial New York Mercantile Exchange natural gas positions during the closing period on the two days—which were the last trading days of the relevant futures contracts—in order to benefit short swaps positions—that were functionally equivalent to the NYMEX futures contract—that the defendants maintained on the IntercontinentalExchange. (This type of conduct is known as "marking the close.") Amaranth Advisors was also charged by the CFTC with attempting to cover up the alleged attempted manipulation. The two Amaranth entities settled their complaint by payment of a fine of US $7.5 million in August 2009 and by agreeing not to violate the relevant provisions of law going forward. However, neither Amaranth entity admitted nor denied any substantive CFTC allegation. In his settlement, Mr. Hunter likewise did not admit or deny any substantive allegation, but there was no agreement not to violate the relevant provisions of law going forward. Instead, Mr. Hunter agreed not to trade any instruments regulated by the CFTC during a closing period on a last trading day, not to trade natural gas contracts overseen by the CFTC during any closing period, and not to seek registration from the Commission in any capacity. Previously, the defendants were unsuccessful in an effort to have the federal court hearing this matter dismiss the CFTC’s charges.