Three indicted in massive stock manipulation case

Prosecutors on Friday indicted the head of an investment consulting firm and his two aides in a large-scale stock manipulation case that has rocked the local financial markets.

The Seoul Southern District Prosecutors Office indicted Ra Deok-yeon, head of an unregistered investment consulting firm, and two others, surnamed Byun and An, on charges of breaching the Financial Investment Services and Capital Markets Act and the Act on Regulation and Punishment of Criminal Proceeds Concealment. They were arrested earlier this month.

Prosecutors suspect that the three pocketed some 730.5 billion won (US$549.9 million) in illicit profits between May 2019 and April this year by having manipulated stock prices through an “order matching” technique after taking over mobile phones and personal information from investors.

They are also suspected of concealing part of the investment proceeds and evading taxes through his business entities, and running an investment consulting business without registering it with the government.

Ra’s firm played a central role in the recent collapse of the stock prices of nine companies, including energy firm Samchully Co. and Seoul City Gas Co.

The stocks of the nine listed companies had steadily risen for years before nose-diving late last month following mass sell-offs through SG Securities Korea Co., the local branch of the Societe Generale Group of France.

About 1,000 investors are said to have suffered huge losses estimated to be between 800 billion won and 1 trillion won.

Source: Yonhap News Agency