Mondelēz International and Kraft Heinz will pay $16 million to resolve a seven-year-old case of grain futures manipulation.
The companies reached a settlement with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that was approved by a federal judge May 13. The CFTC complaint, filed in 2015, charges that Mondelēz and Kraft Foods, as the company was then known, drove down grain prices by buying a six months’ supply of futures contracts for grain that they never had any intention of actually buying.
This manipulation ended up earning the two companies $5.4 million in illicit profits, according to the CFTC. The fine represents about three times that amount.
“This case goes to the core of the CFTC’s mission: protecting market participants and the public from manipulation and abusive practices that undermine the integrity of the derivatives markets,” Aitan Goelman, the CFTC’s director of enforcement when the action was filed, said in a statement at the time. “A market participant who is not happy with cash prices available to it may not resort to manipulative trading strategies in an attempt to artificially lower that price.”