S. Korea to toughen fines against share price manipulation

South Korea will toughen fines against stock price manipulation this week under a revised capital market act, the financial regulator said Thursday. Under the revised law, the financial authorities will be allowed to fine up to twice the amount of gains made through illegal or unfair stock trading practices, including stock price manipulation, according to the Financial Services Commission (FSC). The revised act on capital market and financial investment will take effect as of Friday, more than six months after the National Assembly passed it on June 30. "It will establish a new fine system where undue unfair profits from illegal practices can be fined by up to twice the amount," the FSC said in a statement. The FSC added those that fail to make profits despite engaging in illegal practices may still face a maximum fine of up to 4 billion won (US$2.98 million). "We hope the implementation of the law will help effectively prevent and expose unfair practices and also severely punish illegal trading practic es," it said. Currently, unfair trading practices are only punishable through criminal prosecution, while many suspects often go unindicted after lengthy legal processes due to difficulties in finding evidence, the FSC noted. "From now, swifter and more effective sanctions will be possible by imposing fines," it said. The revision also stipulates how to calculate unfair profits -- total gains after expenses -- partly ruling out the possibility of suspects evading heavy penalties by making their profits seem less, according to the FSC. The revised law also allows the financial authorities to reduce fines on those who voluntarily confess their crimes or those of others, a move aimed at encouraging more whistleblowers to come forward, it said. Source: Yonhap News Agency