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Posted : 2011-06-05 17:35
Updated : 2011-06-05 17:35

Two Credit Suisse officials charged with stock manipulation

By Kim Da-ye

Two former employees of the Hong Kong branch of the Zurich-based Credit Suisse face trial on charges of profiteering from stock price manipulation.

The two were charged with investing in struggling firms to boost their stock prices and selling borrowed shares from those companies at higher prices, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said. It would be the first trial of employees of a foreign-based investment firm.

Prosecutors, who often find it difficult to investigate, charge and put to trial foreign suspects because they won’t answer summons, managed to collect enough evidence in this case.

The indictment also provides a clue to the case of Deutsche Bank’s securities unit that was criminally charged with manipulating stock prices on the exercise date of the option contracts on Nov. 11 last year.

The Korean financial regulator found that Deutsche Bank was responsible for the drop in the stock price caused by a massive sell-off of shares, and banned it from trading stocks and derivatives for its account. It was also hit with a record fine of 1 billion won by the Korea Exchange (KRX).

As the regulator reported several Deutsche Bank officials to the prosecutors, the investigation has opened. But none is known to have answered the summons.

In the Credit Suisse case, the prosecutors said that the indicted officials bought overseas convertible bonds (CBs) worth 100 billion won between April 2005 and May 2006 issued by 12 KOSDAQ-listed companies on the condition that they secretly borrow the companies’ shares from the major shareholders.

The news that the established foreign institution invested in those firms boosted the stock prices as expected. The former Credit Suisse officials then sold off the borrowed shares at good prices, making unfair profits estimated to be 23.6 billion won.

Two employees of the Seoul-based Kyobo Securities are also charged with collaborating with Credit Suisse at the fee of 3.4 billion won.

Four out of 12 KOSDAQ-listed companies became delisted, causing losses to investors.

According to Yonhap, when issuing convertible bonds, the companies did not inform the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) that it was lending shares to Credit Suisse.

The major shareholders also falsely disclosed that they were lending shares to Kyobo Securities, not to the Zurich-based financial company.

In order to avoid disclosing the ownership of the shares, Credit Suisse allegedly set up eight special-purpose companies to split and sell the borrowed shares.
관련 한글 기사

크레디트 스위스 전 직원2명 주가조작으로 기소되었다

12개 코스닥 상장사와 공모해 해외전환사채(CB)를 발행하도록 한 뒤 이를 매입하는 수법으로 주가를 띄워 200억원대의 시세차익을 챙긴 외국인 ‘증권맨’들이 검찰에 적발됐다.

서울중앙지검 금융조세조사1부(부장 이석환)는 5일 전 크레디트스위스(CS) 홍콩지사 직원 M씨(43) 등 외국인 2명과 전 교보증권 직원 김모(49)씨 등 한국인 2명을 증권거래법 위반 혐의로 불구속기소했다. 검찰에 따르면 M씨 등은 2005년 4월부터 2006년 5월까지 N사 등 12개 코스닥 상장사가 발행한 1010억원대 해외CB를 정상적 투자인 것처럼 꾸며 매입한 뒤 주가 상승 후 팔아 236억원의 이익을 챙긴 혐의를 받고 있다.

코스닥 기업들은 M씨 등에게 CB발행액의 30~50%에 해당하는 주식을 미리 빌려주는 대차(貸借)조건부 CB를 발행해 시세차익 규모를 키워줬다.

검찰에 따르면 M씨 등은 재무상태가 나쁜 회사를 골라 범행을 미리 제안했으며, 다른 외국인 투자자들의 해외CB 공모 참여를 막기 위해 아예 공모 시기와 방법 등을 공개하지 않았다. 또 개인 투자자들의 눈을 속이기 위해 주식을 빌린 곳이 교보증권인 것처럼 위장했으며 CS홍콩의 주식 대량보유 사실을 숨기기 위해 주식을 8개 특수목적회사(SPC) 명의로 분산 보유하는 수법을 사용했다.

M씨 등은 결국 자신들의 범죄가 ‘해외CB발행 성공’으로 포장돼 기업들의 주가 상승으로 이어지자 빌린 주식과 CB에서 전환된 주식을 내다팔아 거액을 챙겼다. 김씨 등도 이 과정에 적극 공모한 혐의로 기소됐다. CB발행 주관 증권사인 교보증권이 챙긴 수수료만 34억원이었다고 검찰은 밝혔다. 검찰은 외국인 2명 중 1명은 입국을 설득해 직접 조사했고 1명은 서면조사한 뒤 기소했다.

검찰이 외국 증권사의 외국인 직원들과 한국 증권사의 한국인 직원들 간 공모 범죄를 적발해 기소한 것은 처음이다

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