Oct 12, 2017

HSBC trader defends Cairn currency deal in ‘front-running’ trial

The top HSBC trader accused of turning an illicit profit from a $3.5bn currency deal has acknowledged he was "Surprised" by how well the bank did from the transaction - but argued it was "Fair all round". Mark Johnson, the bank's former head of global forex cash trading, was giving testimony on Wednesday at his trial in New York over charges he exploited confidential information from Cairn Energy, an HSBC client, to the bank's profit. US prosecutors maintain he schemed in 2011 to capitalise on a jump in the pound's value by trading ahead of the chunky order from Cairn, the UK oil and gas company, which had hired HSBC to convert the proceeds of an asset sale. Asked what he made of the outcome of the deal, he responded: "I was surprised. It was a lot better than expected outcome for HSBC. But I felt it was fair all round . . . For the risk that HSBC took, the outcome was fair." Authorities claim Mr Johnson tipped off HSBC traders in advance, netting the bank millions of dollars in profits by "Front running" at the expense of its client.

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