PVM Oil Futures, a London-based division of the world’s biggest broker of over-the-counter derivatives, has lost almost $10 million after falling victim to a rogue trader.
The unauthorized trades in the early hours of Tuesday morning are reported to have been brokered by Steve Perkins, a senior, long-standing trader in futures on the Brent oil contract. He is understood to have been suspended from his post.
A spokesman for PVM Oil refused to confirm the identity of the trader and said the company had launched an investigation and continued to operate normally.
The rogue trades are widely believed to have caused global crude oil prices to spike to their highest level in more than eight months — a leap that traders and analysts had struggled to explain.
Oil breached $73 a barrel during Asian trade on Tuesday, up by more than $1.50 a barrel in under half an hour at around 2 a.m.
More than 16 million barrels of Brent crude oil traded in just over half an hour, according to Reuters exchange data, an unprecedented amount for a market that typically trades less than one million barrels before Europe opens.
The volume of crude traded during Asian trading was almost double the current daily output of Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter.