HSBC, Citigroup suspend four forex traders

January 19, 2014 - 7:31:33 am
LONDON: HSBC and Citigroup  both suspended foreign exchange traders yesterday as a global probe into possible currency market manipulation intensified.

Regulators from the US arrived in London this week, stepping up an investigation in which they are working with Britain’s financial watchdog to determine whether traders at some of the world’s biggest banks colluded to manipulate the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market.

The investigations centre on senior traders’ communication of client positions via electronic chatrooms, which featured prominently also in a probe into the rigging of a key interest rate known as the London interbank offered rate, or Libor.

As the currency investigation ramps up, the banks themselves are scrutinising their employees more closely and most are now carrying out internal investigations.

Sources said that Deutsche Bank suspended several traders in New York this week, while US regulators descended on Citigroup’s London offices.  A spokesman for HSBC confirmed the bank had suspended two FX traders in London, but declined further comment.

The two HSBC traders suspended are Edward Pinto and Serge Sarramegna, said a person with direct knowledge of the situation. Their positions were not known, but Sarramegna has in the past been head of the G10 spot FX desk, according to numerous reports. Both men are listed as active on the UK regulator’s register of financial industry professionals.

The two men could not immediately be reached at their office phones or company email addresses. Sarramegna could not be reached at his home in Essex, 45km east of London.  

A Citigroup spokesman said two FX traders had been sent “on leave”.  The Citi traders are London-based Anthony John and Andrew Amantia, who works in New York.  Reuters