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CME Group Fines Whiteside $225,000 for Natural Gas Trades

CME Group Inc. fined Whiteside Energy LP $225,000 after a trader at the Houston-based firm left an automated trade execution system unattended, contributing to disruptive price movements in the July 2011 natural gas contract.

Whiteside lost more than $400,000 as a result of the trades made while the automated system was unattended. The trades took place between 6:40 p.m. and 6:43 p.m. on June 8, 2011, during which time the automated system accounted for the majority of market volume, CME Group said in an emailed statement. During a two-second period, the price fell to $4.51 per million British thermal units from $4.85, the company said.

A man who answered the phone at the number listed on Whiteside’s website, asked about the fines levied by CME, said it is the firm’s policy not to comment. He declined to give his name.

Steven Vu, a trader with Whiteside, was fined $25,000. Both Whiteside and Vu agreed to the fines without admitting or denying CME’s findings, CME Group said.

Vu could not be reached for comment.

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