HSBC traders used code word to trigger front-running, prosecutor says

Section:

By Patricia Hurtado
Bloomberg News
Friday, October 6, 2017

A group of HSBC Holdings currency traders in London and New York feverishly jumped ahead of a $3.5 billion client order after they were tipped off using the code words "my watch is off," a U.S. prosecutor told a federal judge.

The buying frenzy was launched after Mark Johnson, HSBC's former global head of foreign exchange whom the bank chose to lead the transaction, alerted the traders via a phone call that was recorded, the prosecutor said Thursday in Brooklyn. Johnson is on trial for fraud.

After the trial recessed for the day, prosecutor Carol Sipperly told U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis that the government today wants the jury to hear the recordings, in Johnson can be heard tipping off a trader in Hong Kong, a signal that she said eventually reached others on both sides of the Atlantic. Prosecutors say Johnson and Stuart Scott, the bank's former head of currency trading in Europe, along with these other traders, bought pounds before the transaction, collectively making the bank $8 million in illicit profit. ...

... For the remainder of the report:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-06/hsbc-currency-unit-us...



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