Citadel Securities hits back at 'Twitter mobs' and conspiracy theorists accusing the firm of pressuring brokerages to limit GameStop trading

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Citadel Securities hits back at 'Twitter mobs' and conspiracy theorists accusing the firm of pressuring brokerages to limit GameStop trading
Ken Griffin, Founder and CEO, Citadel, speaks during the Milken Institute's 22nd annual Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., April 30, 2019. Mike Blake/Reuters Mike Blake/Reuters
  • Citadel Securities rejected claims that it asked Robinhood to halt GameStop trading in January.
  • On Twitter, the firm, founded by Ken Griffin, called the accusations an "absurd story."
  • Hashtag #KenGriffinLied trended after a lawsuit revealed discussions between Citadel Securities and Robinhood.

Ken Griffin's Citadel Securities rejected accusations Tuesday that it pushed Robinhood to restrict trading of GameStop shares amid the record price surge in January.

In a series of Twitter threads, the trading firm called accusations against it an "absurd story" from conspiracy theorists and likened them to those who refuse to believe in the moon landing.

"Internet conspiracies and Twitter mobs try to ignore the facts, but the fact is that Citadel Securities was the pre-eminent market maker to the retail brokerage community in January 2021," the company wrote on Twitter.

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On Tuesday, the hashtag #KenGriffinLied was trending on Twitter after a lawsuit revealed internal Robinhood discussions showing the brokerage communicated with Citadel Securities in the days leading up to the Jan. 28 meme-stock trading halt.

"These complaints attempt to create a false narrative of collusion, and we will work vigorously to continue correcting the record with the facts," a Robinhood spokesperson told Insider. "In the context of January 28, Robinhood Securities was communicating with market makers in an effort to ensure continued market access for our customers. At no point did Citadel or any other market maker pressure the business to move any securities to position-close only."

Griffin, the founder of Citadel Securities, said that he and Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev "have never texted, called or met each other."

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Retail investors on Twitter pushed back on Citadel Securities' tweets. One prominent investor who runs the YouTube channel Tray's Trades said, "First tweet in 9 months, and it's defending yourselves? After months and months of silence?"

After Robinhood halted trading of GameStop and other meme-stock shares in January, the online brokerage faced blowback in the form of outraged retail traders, lawsuits, and a Congressional hearing.

Regulators are also considering a ban on the payment-for-order-flow model in which brokerages such as Robinhood route customers' trades through market makers who then execute the trades and often collect on the difference between the bid and ask price. Tenev defended the practice in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal Tuesday, saying it allows the brokerage to provide commission-free, no-minimum services to users.

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