Serious breaches, including market manipulation, by the Jaén-based Olive Oil Futures Market were revealed today in a Spanish government bulletin.

It said both the market (MFAO for its initials in Spanish) and then director general José Luis Alonso Fernández, were fined a total of about €70,000 ($95,000) over the breaches, which took place several years ago. Publication of details of the penalties was approved in a resolution by the CNMV, the agency overseeing the Spanish stock market, just last month.

According to the government bulletin (BOE), on October 3, 2012, the CNMV imposed a €15,000 fine against the MFAO and €20,000 against Alonso for practices of market manipulation between February 2009 and November 2010 that provided false or misleading signals regarding supply, demand or price.

And on July 9 last year, it imposed fines of the same amounts against both for “not merely occasional or isolated” breaches of rules governing the MFAO.

According to Spanish olive oil publication Olimerca, Manuel León, president of the Jaén-based market, said the MFAO’s governing body had cooperated fully with the CNMV from the moment it became aware of the practices and also opened its own line of investigation. Alonso ceased being director general at the end of 2010 and all the fines had been settled last September.

Leon said Alonso’s actions did not cause harm to any client or operator in the MFAO, and the irregular operations formed just 5-6 percent of the total volume of contracts in the market, Olimerca reported.

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