HSCB’s top currency trader, Mark Johnson, 50, has been arrested by the FBI at JFK airport, New York, and charged for £2.7bn worth of fraud. He is to appear in court today.
Johnson is HSBC’s global Head of Foreign Exchange for cash trading London. Along with Johnson is British Stuart Scot, 43, who has also been charged. Scot is HSCB’s former Head of Currency Trading in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
It is alleged that the pair misused confidential information provided to them by a client who was seeking to convert billions of dollars into pounds, back in 2011. Johnson and Scot are thought to have made a £6m profit from their scheme.
They are the first to be charged regarding the Forex scandal, which refers to rigging foreign exchange markets.
US attorney Robert Capers said “as alleged, the defendants placed personal and company profits ahead of their duties of trust and confidentiality owed to their client.”
Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said, “this case demonstrates the criminal division’s commitment to hold corporate executives, including at the world’s largest and most sophisticated institutions, responsible for their crimes.”
In 2014, HSBC ran into trouble over currency manipulator allegations and were made to pay £470m to UK and US regulators.