Nelson Bunker Hunt - Silver Manipulation

Silver Manipulation

Beginning in the early 1970s, Hunt and his brother William Herbert Hunt began accumulating large amounts of silver. By 1979, they had nearly cornered the global market. In the last nine months of 1979, the brothers profited by an estimated $2 billion to $4 billion in silver speculation, with estimated silver holdings of 100 million ounces (6.25 million pounds).

During the Hunt brothers' accumulation of the precious metal, prices of silver futures contracts and silver bullion during 1979 and 1980 rose from $11 an ounce in September 1979 to $50 an ounce in January 1980. Silver prices ultimately collapsed to below $11 an ounce two months later. The largest single day drop in the price of silver occurred on Silver Thursday.

Hunt filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code in September 1988, largely due to lawsuits incurred as a result of his silver speculation.

In 1989 in a settlement with the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Nelson Bunker Hunt was fined US$10 million and banned from trading in the commodity markets as a result of civil charges of conspiring to manipulate the silver market stemming from his attempt to corner the market in silver. This fine was in addition to a multimillion-dollar settlement to pay back taxes, fines and interest to the Internal Revenue Service for the same period.

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