HSBC’s ex-head of FX cash trading found guilty of fraud

Former senior FX trader at HSBC defrauded one client out of more than $7 million.

The former head of global FX cash trading at HSBC has been found guilty of fraud following his role in a multi-million dollar front running scheme.

Mark Johnson was found to have misused confidential information to manipulate currency prices and defrauded a client out of more than $7 million.

He was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and eight counts of wire fraud following a four-week trial with the US Department of Justice.

Johnson was first arrested in August 2016 after a criminal complaint was filed the month prior. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

Acting assistant attorney general Kenneth Blanco of the Justice Department’s criminal division explained the verdict reflects Johnson’s manipulation of the foreign exchange market, “for the benefit of his bank and his bonus pool, to the detriment of the bank’s client”.

“This case involved a complex fraud scheme to ‘front run’ a foreign exchange transaction in order to generate millions of dollars in illicit profits for HSBC, which also indirectly benefited individual traders,” added Inspector General Jay Lerner of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

“Such cases are challenging, but important, to bring against bank insiders who misuse their positions and undermine the integrity of a major international financial institution.”