It isn't often that you hear about bank executives facing criminal charges, but that is the reality of life for two executives from HSBC. The banking giant has been investigated for money laundering and mortgage fraud. Typically, the bank has simply paid money and things have been handled that way.
The two men who are facing criminal charges are said to be part of a currency manipulation scheme that has netted $8 million in fees and profits. One of the men was arrested at Kennedy International Airport just prior to leaving on a flight bound for London.
The scheme that the men are said to have spearheaded was similar to an insider trading scheme. The difference in this case was the men were dealing with currencies instead of stocks. The complaint filed against them stated that they would "ramp" the prices of one currency up to increase profits for the bank at the expense of their client. Documents discussing how high they could push the prices were included as part of the criminal complaint.
This is the Justice Department's first case involving the individuals who are allegedly at the heart of these cases involving currency manipulation. This is a step that was taken to hold high-powered executives accountable for their illegal actions instead of allowing those actions to be swept under the rug.
Executives who haven't been doing every transaction in the fully legal way might soon find themselves facing similar charges. For those who wind up being named as defendants, sorting through the case against them and determining how to fight the charges will become a top life priority.
Source: The New York Times, "HSBC Bank Executives Face Charges in $3.5 Billion Currency Case," Alexandra Stevenson, July 20, 2016