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New Forest currency trader faces US jail after latest appeal fails

Mark Johnson leaving the US District Court in Brooklyn in 2016 (picture: AP/Kathy Willens)
Mark Johnson leaving the US District Court in Brooklyn in 2016 (picture: AP/Kathy Willens)

A NEW Forest man could return to a US jail after his second bid to challenge convictions for a £3.5bn energy deal fraud was rejected by the country’s highest court.

Mark Johnson, from Burley, had his petition rejected by the Supreme Court after his defence team sought to launch another appeal or have Mr Johnson’s original trial rerun.

The former HSBC foreign currency executive was given a two-year jail sentence and $300,000 fine in April 2018 having been found guilty by a jury of nine counts of fraud and one of conspiracy at a high-profile trial in New York.

During his banking career Mr Johnson worked in London and New York while living in Burley with his children and wife, Diane.

He played several seasons with Ellingham and Ringwood Rugby Club, making appearances for the first XV and on occasion captained the third team.

The case came from a complex transaction in 2011 in which Mr Johnson was found to have manipulated currency values for the benefit of himself and about $8m for the bank.

Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy had asked HSBC to convert proceeds from the sale of an Indian subsidiary from dollars into pounds.

Mr Johnson’s trial hinged in part on whether he and HSBC owed a fiduciary responsibility to the oil company compelling them to find the cheapest possible rate for a large transaction.

When the trade was executed it netted the bank an £8m profit – 0.2% of the original deal. A secret recording caught Mr Johnson saying: “F***ing Christmas” when told that figure.

But after the conviction, financial experts raised questions over the case and claimed that, should the guilty verdicts stand, there would be huge implications for foreign exchange traders.

Co-defendant Stuart Scott, who denied any wrongdoing, successfully challenged an extradition order and had the case against him dropped.

Mr Johnson went to prison after the guilty verdicts but was released weeks later upon his appeal. Mr Johnson and his attorney, Alexandra Shapiro, did not respond to a request for comment by the A&T.

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