US regulators drop investigation into silver market manipulation

Silver, you're off the hook.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced on Wednesday that it had closed its investigation into silver markets, saying that it has found no "viable basis" for any enforcement action.

In September 2008 the Commission confirmed that it was investigating complaints of misconduct in the silver market related to pricing. The complainants claimed that COMEX-traded silver contracts were being manipulated.

"The complaints pointed to differences between prices in the silver futures contracts and prices in other silver products, including retail silver products. The complainants generally asserted that because the prices for retail silver products, such as coins and bullion, had increased, the price of silver futures contracts should have also experienced an increase." – CFTC report

The Commission says its Enforcement Division conducted an "exhaustive investigation" into these allegations; their efforts total more than seven thousand enforcement staff hours.

Having found no evidence of wrongdoing, the CFTC will not place any charges.

The Commission does not usually disclose information on enforcement investigations but in light of market conditions in 2008, decided to inform the public on the silver market inquiry.

Under the Dodd-Frank financial reform regulation, the CFTC has extensive powers in cracking down on shady trading.

However, market manipulation charges are difficult to prove. According to a Reuters report, the Commission has only once in its 36-year history successfully concluded a manipulation prosecution.