Financial authorities are considering taking disciplinary action against Celltrion chairman and CEO Seo Jung-jin for engaging in unfair trading of company stocks.
Senior regulatory officials recently held a panel discussion to clarify their stance on whether Seo rigged stock prices of the biopharmaceutical firm, according to spokespeople of the Financial Supervisory Service on Monday.
FSS inspectors have conducted a probe into allegations that the Celltrion chief manipulated stock prices and exploited insider information.
While the final decision is scheduled to be made during the coming meeting of the Securities and Futures Commission, a decision-making body of the FSS, market insiders and some officials raised the possibility that Seo could be placed under criminal investigation.
“Should the SFC verify the CEO’s alleged stock manipulation, there is a high possibility that regulators will file a complaint against him with the prosecution or at least hand the case over to the prosecution,” said an FSS official.
Meanwhile, Celltrion denied the allegations through a statement on its website.
“On Sept. 13, we notified the FSS of our stance that we have not been involved in any irregular use of insider information. We also reiterated that we did not take any illicit gains,” the company said.
The company added that it had not been informed of any decision by the FSS to reprimand the CEO.
In April, Seo said that he was tired of the speculative attacks on the company stocks from parties such as hedge funds, arguing that regulators had been “negligent” in oversight of stock scammers over the past two years.
Celltrion has drawn wide attention from investors as No. 1 by market capitalization among companies registered on the secondary KOSDAQ. Its stocks dropped 5.43 percent during the Monday trading session to close at 47,850 won ($43.5).
Earlier this year, the Fair Trade Commission levied Celltrion Holdings fines of 270 million won for breaching the law on holding firms that own subsidiaries.
By Kim Yon-se (firstname.lastname@example.org