The United States government regulatory agency for commodities trading is seeking a lifetime ban from the trade against poker player Dan Shak, allegedly for violations of an agreement that Shak entered into last year.
According to Reuters, the U. S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC) is looking to permanently ban Shak after he executed two gold futures trades earlier this year. In the civil enforcement complaint filed by the CTFC on Tuesday, the government states that Shak executed the deals despite having agreed to not participate in such actions. The whistleblower in the case appears to be Shak’s broker who, according to Reuters, confronted Shak about the trade and immediately reported him to the CTFC.
In November 2013, the CTFC charged Shak and his firm, SHK Management, with attempting to manipulate the price of crude oil futures. In an agreement reached between the government and SHK Management, the company was barred from trading on crude oil markets, agreed to pay $400,000 in fines and accepted a two-year ban from trading in all “naked futures,” or options that the company making the deals does not own any of the stock in the company they are trading. According to the suit filed by the CTFC, Shak violated that agreement with the gold futures trades enacted in May.
Reuters quotes Shak’s attorney, David Kovel of the law firm Kirby McInerney LLP, as saying, “It’s shocking that the CFTC will devote this kind of resources at such a minor technical infraction. We also dispute the CFTC’s allegation that he (Shak) did not disclose the violation to the CTFC.” Kovel also indicated that he is reviewing the full CTFC complaint and preparing a response; the only action on the case to this point is that it has been assigned to Judge Emmet Sullivan for a hearing.
Shak has had a long and successful history in the poker world, mostly built out of strong performances in tournament poker. While he has never won a World Series of Poker bracelet or a World Poker Tour championship, Shak has made his mark in the “high roller” tournament poker world with a string of outstanding finishes. In 2010, Shak was the winner of the Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge (over Phil Ivey) where he took home his largest-ever tournament score of $1.2 million Australian (roughly the same in U. S. dollars).
In 2013, Shak once again beat up on the Aussie Millions, finishing second in the Main Event and fourth in the $100K Challenge in earning over $500,000. Earlier this year, Shak was the runner-up to Fabian Quoss at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure’s $100,000 Super High Roller event for another million dollar score. All totaled, Shak has over $7.2 million in career earnings from tournament poker.
Shak’s history in the futures market is a well-known fact in the poker community. In 2011, SHK Management liquidated nearly 1/10th of the gold market – valued at around $850 million – which caused significant movement in trading on gold in the futures market. Trades such as these are how Shak has become quite wealthy, allowing him to take part in “high roller” events around the world.