These are external links and will open in a new window. A former colleague, Stuart Scott, has also been charged. However, a spokesman said the bank was cooperating in the DoJ's ongoing investigation into global currency markets. Mr Scott has denied the allegations. It is claimed that the two executives bought sterling themselves before handling the order, because they knew that such a large transaction would push up the value of the currency, and allow them to make money.
The DoJ also claimed the traders timed the purchase in order to maximise its effect on the value of the British currency.
As a result it's alleged they were able to generate significant profits for the bank. They are also accused of concealing their actions from the client. US prosecutors cited emails and conversations from Bloomberg chats that indicated the two men plotted to see how high they could raise the the dollar to pound exchange rate before the clients would 'squeal'. When companies or individuals want to buy a substantial amount of currency- for example dollars in exchange for pounds - they typically go through a broker.
A large purchase can push up the value of that currency. Knowing this, the broker can buy dollars on their own account ahead of the deal, carries out their client's transaction, watches the value of dollars rise, and then sells their own dollars at a handsome profit.
In late November and early December of that year, Mr Johnson allegedly purchased pounds in exchange for euros, and pounds in exchange for dollars. The two men are accused of then selling their sterling to HSBC, for a profit on the day of the alleged victim's foreign exchange transaction. The DoJ also accused the two men of encouraging the alleged victim to conduct the trade at a specific time during the day, because it was easier to manipulate the price then.
This case is related to a three-year long investigation by regulators into rigging of the currency market globally, but is the first time the Department of Justice has brought charges against individuals. HSBC was not part of those criminal cases, but it was one of six banks fined by UK and US regulators over their traders' attempted manipulation of foreign exchange rates in November There is no physical forex marketplace and nearly all trading takes place on electronic systems operated by the big banks and other providers.
Daily "spot benchmarks" known as "fixes" are used by a wide range of financial and non-financial firms to, for example help value assets or manage currency risk. HSBC said it did not comment on individual employees or active litigation. More on this story. How to rig the market. How the forex scandal happened. Why you can trust BBC News. UK Home England N. Ireland Scotland Wales Politics.More...