P.M. BRIEFING : Changes in Commodities Rules Proposed in Wake of Indictments

From Times Wire Services

Federal regulators unveiled proposed rules changes today to combat the alleged fraud and price manipulation uncovered earlier this month in Chicago's commodity futures exchanges.

Among the changes proposed are a stepped-up presence of government regulators on exchange floors at the start and end of trading days.

More than 40 brokers and traders were indicted on a laundry list of charges Aug. 2 after a two-year probe of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade.

The five-member Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which oversees the futures industry, voted unanimously to submit a package of rules changes for public comment.

In addition to tightening surveillance on the nation's commodity exchange floors, the package calls for better record-keeping and requires more accountability by individuals and firms. The proposed rules changes would also prevent individuals with a previous history of rules violations from serving on the governing boards, disciplinary committees or arbitration panels of exchanges or registered futures associations.

The proposed changes do not take effect immediately but are subject to comment by interested parties for the next 30 days before final action by the commission.

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