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Washington (AFP) - Democratic lawmakers urged US authorities Monday to launch an insider trading investigation into possible market manipulation by traders who may have timed their moves to President Donald Trump's remarks on issues like negotiations with China.
In a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr, the FBI chief and the Securities and Exchange Commission, 14 senators expressed concern about reports of "suspicious trading" by an individual or group that amounted to payoffs in some cases topping $1 billion per trade -- just ahead of Trump remarks or action by his administration.
"They suggest that some may have an unfair trading advantage because of privileged access to nonpublic market-moving information potentially from government sources and, as a result, raise concerning questions about the integrity of our financial markets and our public institutions," the senators wrote.
The lawmakers include Ron Wyden, top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, and 2020 presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar.
The issue surfaced after Vanity Fair published an article Thursday highlighting "fishy" electronic trading -- sometimes in the closing minutes of a session -- in S&P 500 futures contracts.
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which monitors S&P futures contract trading, dismissed the story as "patently false."
In several incidents in recent months, the magazine said, someone either bought or short-sold massive amounts of so-called e-minis shortly before Trump made key remarks, such as about China trade negotiations, or ahead of vital moves by the administration.
The profits enjoyed by those trades were so quick and stunning as to raise questions about whether people behind the trades had inside information about what Trump might say or do, Vanity Fair reported.