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Celltrion chief suspected of stock-price rigging

2013/09/16 15:36

SEOUL, Sept. 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's financial authorities have tentatively reached a conclusion that the head of the top KOSDAQ-listed firm was involved in stock-price rigging activities, sources said Monday.

The Financial Services Commission, the country's top financial regulator, reportedly found circumstantial evidences that Seo Jung-jin, who heads Celltrion Inc., manipulated shares prices and raked in unfair returns.

Financial authorities said several shareholders, including Seo, used undisclosed information and scooped up shares before the company announced its plans of share buybacks and the free issuing of new shares.

Market watchers said financial authorities are likely to report the case to the prosecutors' office.

In April, Seo drew market watchers' attention after announcing that he plans to sell all of his stakes in the firm and affiliates to a foreign pharmaceutical company due to the country's weak rules on short-selling.

Seo said the company has been spending excessive capital on purchasing its own shares to stabilize them from price volatilities, which were sparked by short-selling activities.

Shortly after Seo's announcement, shares of Celltrion plunged, coming to about 20,000 won (US$18.4), compared to 49,800 won tallied on April 16. The price, however, bounced back to 56,000 won Friday.

Meanwhile, Celltrion flatly denied the allegations in a statement, adding there were no usages of undisclosed information.

colin@yna.co.kr

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