HSBC banker arrested at JFK, faces charges along with colleague

HSBC Canary Wharf corner

Two senior officials at HSBC have been arrested in connection with a case involving currency benchmark rigging, according to reports.

Mark Johnson, the bank's global head of foreign-exchange cash trading, was arrested Tuesday at JFK International Airport, according to multiple reports. He faces charges following a three-year investigation into currency trading practices at multiple global banks, according to the reports.

In addition, Stuart Scott, former head of the bank's Europe desk, also faces wire fraud conspiracy charges, according to The New York Times . The Times reported that Johnson and Scott made a $3 million profit on the trade in question, which apparently involved an oil and gas company that wanted to exchange U.S. dollars with British pounds.

HSBC declined comment. The Justice Department in New York was not immediately available and did not immediately release information.

The investigation into currency rigging has been ongoing for three years but has resulted in no individual arrests until this week. Johnson is expected to appear in court Wednesday on a conspiracy to commit wire fraud charge, according to Bloomberg.

Banks have paid billions in fines resulting from investigations, with Citigroup , HSBC , JPMorgan Chase , RBS and UBS forced to pay $3.1 billion in fines from Britain's Financial Conduct Authority and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. JPMorgan, Citi and Bank of America also had to pay separately $950 million for unsafe practices, while UBS shelled out an additional $138 million to the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority for improper business conduct.

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