(Corrects spelling of trader's name in paragraph 7 and 8)
By Steve Slater and Clare Hutchison
LONDON Jan 17 HSBC and Citigroup
both suspended foreign exchange traders on Friday as a global
probe into possible currency market manipulation intensified.
Regulators from the United States 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 told Reuters that Deutsche Bank suspended
several traders in New York this week, while U.S. 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 Serge Sarramegna and
Edward Pinto, said a person with direct knowledge of the
situation. The two men could not immediately be reached by phone
Their positions were not known, although Sarramegna has in
the past been head of the G10 spot FX desk. Both are listed as
active on the UK regulator's register of financial services
A Citigroup spokesman said two FX traders had been sent "on
leave". One trader works in London, and the other works in New
York, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
Several traders at several banks have been suspended or sent
on leave. Citi last week fired its head of European spot foreign
exchange trading, Rohan Ramchandani, following a prolonged
period on leave, one source with knowledge of the matter said.
Deutsche Bank, Citi and HSBC are three of the biggest
players in the FX market.
Britain's Financial Conduct Authority began a formal
investigation into the currency market in October and the U.S.
Justice Department is also investigating possible manipulation.
The FCA is focusing on around 15 banks, whom it has asked
for - or required to provide - information about currency
(Reporting by Steve Slater and Clare Hutchison; Editing by