U.S. prosecutors say former HSBC currency trader Mark Johnson deserves a decade or more in prison based on his fraud conviction for front-running a $3.5 billion client order and lying on the witness stand at his trial.
Bloomberg News reports that Johnson, the bank’s former global head of foreign exchange trading, was found guilty in October by a federal jury in Brooklyn, New York, of charges tied to HSBC’s execution of an order from Cairn Energy Plc in 2011.
Prosecutors said Johnson deserves a term of nine to 11 1/2 years as he caused $7.3 million in losses, noting that "HSBC settled Cairn’s claim relating to this incident for approximately $8 million."
HSBC was hired by Cairn to convert the proceeds of a unit’s sale from dollars into pounds. Johnson and Stuart Scott, a former head of European currency trading, were among a group of HSBC currency traders in New York and London who feverishly bought pounds just before the Cairn transaction, prosecutors say. Johnson was the first person to be tried since the currency-rigging scandal that resulted in global banks paying more than $10 billion in penalties.
Johnson has asked for leniency from the judge who is scheduled to sentence him on April 2, arguing that he’ll suffer as U.K. citizen being imprisoned in the U.S., prosecutors said.
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