July 2 (Reuters) - Louis Dreyfus Commodities BV and several affiliates have been sued by a former senior trader at rival Glencore, who accused them of manipulating prices in the cotton market last year.
The trader, Mark Allen, contended that Louis Dreyfus, its Allenberg Cotton and Term Commodities units and several individuals violated antitrust law by artificially inflating prices of IntercontinentalExchange cotton futures contracts expiring in May 2011 and July 2011.
Allen had been Glencore’s head of cotton trading before being fired last year in the wake of losses.
His lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of various investors with positions in the cotton futures contracts, as well as triple and other damages. It was filed on Friday afternoon in the U.S. district court in Manhattan.
Louis Dreyfus was not immediately available for comment.
The lawsuit came after the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission according to a published report opened an investigation into volatile trading and large contract deliveries that had roiled the cotton market in 2011.
According to the Financial Times, the CFTC enforcement division interviewed traders about the large volume of cotton bales delivered against IntercontinentalExchange Inc’s benchmark U.S. futures contract last summer.
The case is Allen v. Term Commodities Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-05126.