The HSBC forex trader on trail for front-running isn’t doing the industry an favors

His defense is that everyone did it

Mark Johnson was the former global head of foreign exchange cash trading at HSBC and has pleaded not guilty to front-running a $3.5 billion trade from a client.

The case started today and he told jurors that his client had acted in a manner that was consistent with «standard practice in the banking industry».

That doesn’t look very good.

Here are the details:

  • Cairn Energy sold some Indian assets and need to convert the proceeds to GBP
  • They called up HSBC to make the trade
  • Johnson made $8 million for HSBC by placing trades for the bank, and then executing the transaction
  • Johnson was arrested on a trip to New York

Johnson himself said the order was like «f***ing Christmas» in internal communications.

He’s facing 10 wire fraud and conspiracy charges.

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