Article: FBI arrests senior HSBC banker accused of rigging multibillion-dollar deal

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FBI arrests senior HSBC banker accused of rigging multibillion-dollar deal

Rupert Neate in New York and Jill Treanor in London, 20 July 2016

Mark Johnson and a colleague allegedly defrauded clients and ‘manipulated the foreign exchange market to benefit themselves and their bank’

A senior HSBC banker has been arrested by the FBI as he attempted to board a transatlantic flight and charged him with fraudulently rigging a multibillion-dollar currency exchange deal.

Mark Johnson, a British citizen and HSBC’s global head of foreign exchange trading, and a colleague are accused of “defrauding clients” and alleged to have “corruptly manipulated the foreign exchange market to benefit themselves and their bank”.

He was arrested on Tuesday night shortly before he was due to fly to London from New York’s JFK airport, and was due to be formally charged by a judge at Brooklyn federal court later on Wednesday. He was later released on bail.

A second Briton, Stuart Scott, who was HSBC’s European head of foreign exchange trading in London until December 2014, is accused of the same crimes. A warrant was issued for Scott’s arrest.

They are the first people to be charged in connection with the US government’s long-running investigation into bankers’ alleged rigging of the $5.3tn (£4tn) per day forex market.

“The defendants allegedly betrayed their client’s confidence, and corruptly manipulated the foreign exchange market to benefit themselves and their bank,” said the US assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell. “This case demonstrates the [US Department of Justice’s] criminal division’s commitment to hold corporate executives, including at the world’s largest and most sophisticated institutions, responsible for their crimes.”

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Article: Former Royal Bank of Scotland trader linked to currency market fixing

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Former Royal Bank of Scotland trader linked to currency market fixing

Jill Treanor, 12 OCtober 2013

Electronic messages that Royal Bank of Scotland handed to the City regulator in connection with potential manipulation of the £3tn-a day currency market are reported to have been sent by the bailed-out bank’s former trader Richard Usher.

The messages are said to be among those handed to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) by the bank, which is 81% owned by the taxpayer.

Usher, who could not be reached for comment, is now the head of spot trading at JP Morgan in London. He has been listed as a member of a Bank of England committee that polices a voluntary code of group practice for the markets.

The regulatory review by the FCA, which has not yet escalated its inquiries into a formal investigation, implies no wrongdoing by Usher, according to the Bloomberg news agency, which revealed his identity.

The analysis of the electronic messages is the latest move by regulators to test the integrity of benchmarks used to price financial products in the light of the Libor-rigging scandal as well as manipulation of gas prices. The investigation was triggered by reports in the Guardian last year.

The FCA said in June it was looking at foreign exchange markets after Bloomberg reported that traders at some banks were sharing information about their positions through instant messages. These were said to be a way to manipulate an index compiled by WM/Reuters and based on prices of currencies for a 60-second period.

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Article: RBS releases documents over alleged currency manipulation

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RBS releases documents over alleged currency manipulation

Jill Treanor, 09 October 2013

Royal Bank of Scotland has handed the City regulator messages sent by one of its former traders in the latest twist in an investigation into potential manipulation of currency rates.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) began an investigation into the £3tn-a-day foreign exchange market in June following allegations that traders at major banks had found ways to manipulate a closely followed currency benchmark. Continue reading “Article: RBS releases documents over alleged currency manipulation”

Article: HSBC pays record $1.9bn fine to settle US money-laundering accusations

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HSBC pays record $1.9bn fine to settle US money-laundering accusations

Jill Treanor and Dominic Rushe,  11 December 2012

HSBC was guilty of a “blatant failure” to implement anti-money laundering controls and wilfully flouted US sanctions, American prosecutors said, as the bank was forced to pay a record $1.9bn (£1.2bn) to settle allegations it allowed terrorists to move money around the financial system.

Hours after the bank’s chief executive, Stuart Gulliver, said he was “profoundly sorry” for the failures, assistant attorney general Lanny Breuer told a press conference in New York that Mexican drug traffickers deposited hundreds of thousands of dollars each day in HSBC accounts. At least $881m in drug trafficking money was laundered throughout the bank’s accounts. Continue reading “Article: HSBC pays record $1.9bn fine to settle US money-laundering accusations”