The Norwegian traders, Svend Egil Larsen and Peder Veiby, were handed suspended prison sentences and fines for market manipulation after outsmarting the trading system of Timber Hill, which is a unit of US-based Interactive Brokers.
The two men managed to work out how the computerised system would react to certain trading patterns. This allowed them to influence the price of low-volume stocks for their own gain.
I agree – it’s like jailing someone for using Word to write a letter – if you know that’s the functionality, that’s what you’re going to exploit it for. Then Timber Hill shouldn’t have used something so predictable as a computer algorithm and certainly not without oversight. Just because there’s money in it, it’s a crime?!