Bill submitted for heavier fines, prison sentence for illegal stock trading

November 28, 2016

SEOUL, Nov. 28 (Yonhap) — A bill was proposed stiffening monetary penalties and prison sentences for illegal stock trading made with inside information and price manipulation, people in the financial community said Monday.

The bill submitted by Rep. Kim Young-joo of main opposition Democratic Party would allow monetary fines in the amount two to five times the sum of profit or evaded losses from such illegal trading, they said. The current law caps the fines at up to three times the amount involved.

The proposed law also lowers the bar for people who can be imprisoned for the unlawful conduct, enforcing a minimum three-year sentence for stock trading that results in illegal profits or avoided losses in amounts between 500 million won (US$424,628) and 2 billion won. An amount of over 2 billion won would require a prison sentence of at least five years. At present, the dividing line is 5 billion won instead of 2 billion won.

Rep. Kim’s aides said the bill aims to stiffen punishment for stock-related crimes that so far have been too lax. According to statistics provided by her office, the rate of prison sentence for the crimes in 2014 was 13.1 percent. By the time trials reach the top court, the prison sentence stops at between six months and a year for 60 percent of the cases, and between 18 months and two years for 15 percent of the cases.

The statistics showed 276 people were reported to the prosecution and other investigative authorities this year up to August for various crimes related to illegal stock trading.