La desegretazione progressiva dei documenti della Commissione 11/9, avviata ieri, sta già dando i primi frutti.
Il memorandum della Commissione che riassume un colloquio con Joseph J. Cella III e Richard Hume, membri dell'ente statunitense di sorveglianza del mercato SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), affronta le asserzioni di insider trading che sembravano indicare che qualcuno sapeva in anticipo degli attacchi e ne aveva approfittato per speculare in Borsa. Il memorandum chiarisce la vastità delle indagini borsistiche svolte e fornisce dettagli sulle origini delle "put option" sospette e di altri movimenti di borsa che attrassero l'attenzione degli inquirenti.
In estrema sintesi, le "put option" del 6 settembre 2001 furono per il 96% opera di un unico consulente d'investimenti con base negli Stati Uniti e quelle del 9 settembre 2001 derivarono dal suggerimento della newsletter californiana Options Hotline di Steve Sarnoff. Anche altre operazioni di borsa furono esaminate, senza però portare a piste collegabili ad una conoscenza anticipata degli attacchi. Il rapporto sottolinea anche il frequente errore giornalistico che portò a gonfiare le cifre in gioco.
...the key players involved in the largest options trading days in UAL and AMR (the trader who bought 96% of the UAL puts on 9/6 and the newsletter advisor who on 9/9 recommended his subscribers purchase AMR puts) were referred to the FBI, even though the SEC was satisfied with the explanations and lack of connection to the terrorist attacks. Given the magnitude of 9/11, the SEC thought it prudent to refer to the FBI the most significant profitable trades, even absent any evidence of wrongdoing or foreknowledge of the attacks. Thus, the threshold for referral to the FBI was size and timing and not the higher standard usually applied for a criminal referral.
Cella said he was unaware of any accounts being forwarded to the FBI because they were offshore, where the SEC could not identify the true beneficial owner. He said the only notable offshore account he could recall was a Spanish client of Merrill Lynch who sold 1 million NASDAQ QQQs (an investment in the NASDAQ 100). The SEC learned from Merrill that the trader was a wild speculator, and the trade was consistent with his trading practices. Ultimately, the SEC satisfied itself that the trade was not terrorist related.
Options Trading - When asked if anything initially looked suspicious, Cella said some of the option trading numbers in UAL and AMR looked suspicious at first blush, before the SEC investigated and understood the trading at issue. At the same time, he said the numbers were never as suspicious as reported in the press. Specifically, he said press reports typically doubled the options trading volume over the actual volume. He said the mistake likely resulted from the Options Clearing Corp.' s (OCC) public web site, which lists both sides of a trade (buy and sell) as separate trades. Thus, a reporter checking the web site for trading volume could easily overstate the trading volume by a factor of two. In addition, Cella said the trading volume on a given day includes both buys and sells. For example, the 2,282 AMR puts traded on 9/10/01, as reflected in the SEC report, includes puts sold by customers as well as puts bought by customers.
Cella said two trading days stood out as the most potentially suspicious: September 6, 2001, when the UAL put volume was 2,075 [v. a call volume of 87] and September 10,2001, when the AMR put volume was 2,282 [v. a call volume of 375]. The SEC investigation revealed innocuous explanations for these apparent anomalies. A U.S.-based investment advisor registered with the SEC purchased 2,000 UAL puts on September 6, constituting 96% of the volume. The SEC's Eric Ribelin and Andrew Snowden interviewed both the CEO of the advisor and the trader who executed the transaction. They received the innocuous explanation for the trade which is set forth in the SEC report. [See Report at 9 (explaining the advisor manages hedge funds with $5.3 billion under management, was pursuing a bearish strategy with respect to most airlines stocks in response to recent bad news announcements, and had actually purchased 115,000 shares of AMR on September 10, believing the negative information on AMR was already reflected in the price).] In light of this explanation, the SEC deemed the trade unconnected to 9/11, although it did refer the trade to the FBI, who Cella believes also interviewed the trader and CEO. [omissis]
The SEC determined that the unusual volume in AMR puts on September 10 largely resulted from an increase in the October 30 put series. Investigation revealed that Options Hotline, a California newsletter, edited by Steve Sarnoff, recommended the purchase of this series in the issue emailed and faxed to its 2000 subscribers' on September 9, 2001. The SEC interviewed 28 people who bought the October 30 puts, and 26 of them cited the Options Hotline. The SEC saw that 27 additional individual purchasers of the October 30 series of AMR on September 10 were also Options Hotline subscribers. The SEC interviewed Sarnoff, who explained the basis for his recommendation. [See SEC Report at 9, describing Sarnoff's technical analysis and belief that the September options would expire too soon for his strategy to payoff]. The SEC investigated the remainder of the put purchasers on September 10, and found them to be innocuous. When asked Cella if the SEC had investigated the total AMR volume of 2,282 on September 10, he reminded us that that figure included more than customer opening transactions, (i.e., purchases); it also included sales. He said the SEC did investigate all the other put purchases on September 10, and found nothing of significance.
Il memorandum tocca anche le asserzioni fatte all'epoca dal presidente della Banca Centrale Tedesca, Ernst Welteke:
Cella said that he was well aware of the Septermber [sic] 2001 public comments of German Central Bank President, Ernst Welteke, concerning alleged "irrefutable proof of insider trading" before 9/11. He said that he has never seen any evidence of such illicit trading in Germany, and he is not aware of any actual findings made by German authorities. To the contrary, he said a German investigator told him the opposite was true. In October 2001, Cella spoke at a meeting about the attacks at FBI Headquarters, which was attended by German investigators, among others. Cella had a sidebar conversation with the head of the German delegation, who told him the German authorities had not found any evidence of trading with foreknowledge of 9/11. Cella believes Welteke's comments were simply ill-advised and did not rest on any actual evidence.
[omissis] Cella said he had no other contact with the German officials other than a brief conversation with another German investigator at a meeting at FBI headquarters in November or December 2001. This conversation shed no light on the German investigation. He said the SEC never requested a copy of the German report of investigation, if one exists. He does not know if the FBI has additional information about the German investigation.
Ringraziamo 9/11 Myths per la segnalazione.