July 26, 2023
A unit of UBS Group AG was accused in a New York lawsuit of using deceptive spoof orders to manipulate the shares of a software company that worked on Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign.
Phunware Inc., based in Austin, Texas, sued UBS Securities LLC Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan, alleging it “deliberately engaged in repeated spoofing that interfered with the natural forces of supply and demand” from January 2021 to March 2023, and repeatedly drove the shares lower.
UBS placed “baiting orders” that were never intended to be executed and had “no legitimate economic purpose” other than to create a “false illusion of market interest,” Phunware said in its complaint. UBS quickly canceled those sell orders and executed buy orders once prices fell, the software company said.
Phunware “sold over 34 million shares at manipulated prices as a result of defendant’s actions,” causing “significant losses” from “artificially depressed prices,” according to the suit.