I merely tried to clarify what they were charged and convicted for.
The rest of the paragraph in the law of which they were convicted goes something like this(loosely translated): "or which secures (makes) the rate (price) of one or several financial instruments at an abnormal or artificial level and / or violates acceptable practice in the market or without legitimate reason"
I see your point, and as I noted; the last word is not said in this case. This was only the District Court.
The reason for why they were charged is, as I understand it, that they repeatedly over a period of time, manipulated this algo, knew how it would respond and exploited it, and in between the buys and sells of doing so, they made the price for that stock be at a misleading level.
The algo sat a price for it stocks - and acted upon actions in the market for one particular stock. It highered its selling price when these guys bought, and vice versa, but in a way that let the guys take a profit.
When doing so - they may have "manipulated the market". - Rosen prices to an artificial level, because their only reason for "pumping" up the price was not because they valued the stock at that high(er) price; but, they did it to make the buy position of the algo accept their (higher) offers in which they made their profits after having "pumped" up the price in the first place.
The trades did probably not have a "legitimate" purpose. They did not only try to profit from the "normal" price-variations of the marked price as daytrades does, but from their own, "selfmade" price-variations by exploiting the algo.
And their trading patterns, described in the court document, did maybe "violate acceptable practice in the market"...
However - you have a good point here - misleading for whom or in relation to what truth. The algo and the people behind it sat a initial price, and then they made that algo behave like it did. They made it value a stock at a higher price when or after someone else bought that stock from them.
If it was programmed that way, was the price not also valued correctly, based on how it was programmed ? ( The "fundamental truth" being what is the algo was programmed to value that stock at )
This will be an interesting case through the court system in Norway..