A Chicago judge forced Edwin Johnson to disclose to Igor Oystacher details of his meeting with regulators and law enforcement.
That was the shocking revelation in a public document which has until now not seen the light of day.
In March 2016, Edwin Johnson provided interrogatories to Igor Oystacher to detail all his meetings with regulators, law enforcement and even the media.
Oystacher is the Chief Executive Officer of 3 Red Trading, and as an ongoing investigation by The Industry Spread has shown, he has engaged in widespread spoofing.
Johnson is the former Chief Risk Officer and part owner at 3 Red Trading turned whistle blower who appears to have given regulators and law enforcement all the evidence they have of widespread spoofing.
Oystacher has been fined by six regulators and suspended and fined by the CME.
This revelation also confirms that Oystacher was also investigated criminally, though there have been no charges.
The judge in the case is Margaret Brennan of the Cook County Circuit Court.
Brennan was ruling in a case previously covered by The Industry Spread.
In this case, Oystacher was suing Johnson for disclosing information that an operating agreement the two parties had signed.
But as The Industry Spread’s story showed, this operating agreement was abusive toward Johnson forcing him to remain silent in order to be paid money he was already due.
His attorneys argued that operating agreement was against public policy.
“Shortly thereafter, on June 17, 2013, in retaliation for Johnson confronting him, Plaintiff without proper authority, involuntarily and unlawfully terminated Johnson from his position at 3Red and refused to pay Johnson the value of his 10% ownership interest in 3Red or cause 3Red to make any severance payment to Johnson. Rather Plaintiff by way of confidential settlement agreement on August 15, 2013, sought to silence Johnson from speaking to regulatory authorities and government agencies. Knowing Johnson did not have the financial means after losing his position at 3Red to challenge plaintiff in legal proceedings, Plaintiff refused to pay Johnson for the value of his ownership interest in 3Red or cause 3Red to make severance payment to Johnson.”
When a contract is against public policy, this means its terms go against the public good which not being allowed to report criminal activity would be.
But not only did Brennan not buy this argument, she forced Johnson to disclose each of his contacts.
“This motion coming to be heard on plaintiffs 4th motion to compel related to defendants 5th Amendment answers and plaintiffs 5th motion to compel. Motions for sanctions and petition for (direct) civil contempt all parties having notice and the court duly approved of the (can’t read word) it is hereby ordered: 1) Plaintiffs motions are Granted. Defendant shall provide all responses and documents, answer all written (discovery) and produce all (cannot read word) logs by 9/4/15 Plaintiffs motion for sanctions iorder Page 46-47 (1)s granted. Plaintiff shall file an attorneys fee petition for the 4th and 5th (min) and compels by 8/28/15 for fees incurred with the two months. This matter is set for status on compliance and attorneys fee petition 9/10/ 15 at 10;30.” Judge Brennan hand wrote in an order dated August 26, 2015.
As a result, Johnson was forced to submit to an interrogatory- where the opposing counsel submits written questions which must be answered under oath- and in those interrogatories Johnson disclosed his meetings with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the US Attorney’s Office, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and members of the media.
The Industry Spread reached out to the FBI, the US Attorneys Office, the CFTC, and the media but received no responses.
According to the interrogatories, here are the contacts Johnson had with the FBI
On April 12, 2014, Johnson met with an FBI agent named Mark and FBI special agent A. Wesley Nevens. On May 15, 2014, Johnson met with Ed Koehleran Assistant US Attorney, Nevens, and Mark. Johnson met with the same three on June 2, 2014. He met with Nevens and Mark again on December 11, 2014 and just with Nevens on December 14, 2014.
On September 6, 2013, Johnson met with these members of the CFTC: Rosemary Hollinger who was the Deputy Director of Enforcement, Scott Wiliamson who was the CFTC Deputy Counsel, Elizabeth Streit who was a CFTC lead attorney, and Jon Kramer a CFTC trial attorney.
On November 13, 2013, he again met with Kramer, Streit, and Joy McCormack who was a CFTC investigator.
On July 16, 2014, he met again with Streit, Kramer, McCormack, and a CFTC trial attorney named Allison Passman.
In other documents, Johnson was forced to reveal details of meetings with regulators from Eurex, the CME, ICE, the AMF in France, and all others which have since sanctioned Oystacher.
The Industry Spread previously exposed that Oystacher has been sanctioned by five regulators on multiple continents for spoofing.
He faced a $2.5 million fine by the CFTC and the CME suspended him for fifteen days on one occasion, however the punishments have mostly been slaps on the wrist.
Johnson was also forced to reveal contacts between himself and Bloomberg reporter Matt Leising and Wall Street Journal reporter Bradley Hope.
Regarding the contact with Hope, the notes stated Johnson provided Hope with a draft complaint against Advantage Futures which had not yet been made public.
During another meeting, Hope asked Johnson more questions about Advantage Futures.
Advantage Futures provides clearinghouse services for 3 Red Trading and they have previously been fined for their role in the spoofing.
Leising did not respond to an email for comment. Hope directed all questions to Steve Seringhaus, the senior director of communications at the Wall Street Journal; Severinghaus did not respond to an email for comment.
Michael McCray is a former US Department of Agriculture whistle-blower and attorney who previously helped provide legal and whistle-blower commentary on this investigation.
He said despite being exposed to hundreds if not thousands of cases with whistle-blower retaliation, he’s never heard of another whistle-blower being forced to reveal who in law enforcement they spoke to the target of law enforcement’s investigation.
He said he has noticed a trend of judges imposing financial- as was imposed and threatened upon Johnson – as a means of getting whistle-blowers to back off.
He also said that since the beginning of the Obama administration he’s also noticed that one trend is the criminalization of whistle-blowers, with those in power not satisfied with simply making sure whistle-blowers can not earn a living.
Indeed, Johnson was on the threat of criminal contempt and could have been thrown in jail by Brennan if he did not comply with her order.
While Edward Snowden was the most famous and controversial example of McCray’s point on Obama criminalizing whistle-blowers, Snowden was not the only one. Thomas Drake blew the whistle on essentially the same thing as Snowden at the National Security Agency (NSA) only he received far less media attention; Drake was charged with three counts, including obstruction of justice and, as part of an agreement to avoid jail, plead guilty to a low-level crime.
In the financial world, UBS whistle-blower Bradley Birkenfeld held the dubious distinction of receiving one of the largest whistle-blower awards, $104 million, which was awarded to him shortly after he left jail after he finished a forty month sentence first imposed on him on August 21, 2009 by US District Judge WillamZloch.
Both the sentence and monetary award related to his whistle-blowing on billions that wealthy Americans were hiding at UBS to avoid paying taxes.
Birkenfeld contacted the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the US Senate among other agencies.
Birkenfeld documented his tale in the book: Lucifer’s Banker: The Untold Story of How I Destroyed Swiss Bank Secrecy
Cook County Judiciary
The Cook County Circuit Court, which includes the City of Chicago, has a longstanding reputation for corruption which mirrors that of Chicago itself.
In fact, one reason why Al Capone was never convicted of any violent crime was because he had many police and local judges bribed to look the other way.
More recently, in the 1980s, Operation Greylord led to the indictment of 92 people in an operation which exposed widespread bribery in that Cook County Circuit Court’s traffic division.
The 2004 book When Corruption Was King by a former mafia fixer named Robert Cooley showed The Outfit, the same criminal gang which Al Capone once headed, was still routinely involved in fixing cases for crimes as heinous as child molestation.
Judge Brennan appears to be from a long line of judges with dubious ethics.
Pat Milhizer, spokesperson for the Cook County Circuit Court, said he could not comment because this was an ongoing case and Illinois Supreme Court Rule 63 forbade the court commenting on ongoing cases.
A phone call to 3 Red Trading was left unreturned.