Former HSBC trader can return home before sentencing

HSBC Canary Wharf

Mark Johnson, a former HSBC foreign-exchange trader convicted of a front-running a $3.5 billion client order, can return to the U.K. for the holidays as he awaits a February 15 sentencing in New York.

Bloomberg News reports that rejecting prosecutors’ argument that he may not return to the U.S. to serve his sentence if allowed to leave the country, U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn said Johnson has satisfied the conditions of his release. He can go home to Hampshire and must return no later than Feb. 8.

Bloomberg previously reported that Johnson was found guilty of fraud for front-running a $3.5 billion client order, a victory for U.S. prosecutors as they seek to root out misconduct in global financial markets.

He was convicted on on nine of 10 fraud and conspiracy counts after a month-long trial in Brooklyn, New York.

"They’ve convicted an innocent man," defense lawyer John Wing said as he left courtroom.

Johnson, 51, was the first person to be tried since the global currency-rigging scandal that resulted in global banks paying more than $10 billion in penalties. The charges stemmed from HSBC’s execution of a trading order from Cairn Energy Plc in 2011 to convert the proceeds of a unit sale from dollars into pounds.

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