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New York Mercantile Exchange Boss to Take Leave of Absence

July 17, 1992

NEW YORK (AP) _ New York Mercantile Exchange Chairman Z. Lou Guttman, who is facing possible civil charges of commodities-law violations, has said he will take a leave of absence from his job.

The move is effective July 31. Vice Chairman Daniel Rappaport will assume Guttman’s duties at the Nymex, the world’s leading futures market for crude oil and refined petroleum.

″Recent press accounts regarding me have served as a distraction to the Exchange,″ Guttman wrote in a letter to the Nymex’s board of directors Thursday. ″In order to ensure the continued effective and orderly administration of the New York Mercantile Exchange...I will take a leave of absence from my day-to-day administrative duties as chairman of Nymex.″

Guttman apparently made his decision under pressure from the exchange’s board of directors, The Wall Street Journal reported in Friday editions.

The announcement came two days after the Journal reported federal futures regulators had notified Guttman they would recommend the filing of an administrative complaint against him and his former partner, Harold Magid.

No charges against Guttman have yet been filed. If charges are filed against him, it would be the first time the Commodities Futures Trading Commission has charged a sitting chairman of a major commodity exchange. ″I emphatically deny any suggestions of wrongdoing on my part,″ Guttman wrote in his letter. ″However, because a purportedly non-public civil administrative proceeding has been made public, I must now devote my attention to personal matters entirely unrelated to the business of this Exchange.″

The agency has been investigating a number of allegedly prearranged commodity trades executed in 1989 by the former Guttman-Magid joint trading account, the Journal has reported, quoting unidentified people it said were familiar with the probe.

Prearranged trades, which have no element of risk and thus are not subject to market forces, are illegal.

Mr. Guttman has headed the Nymex since 1988.

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