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Deutsche Bank brokerage unit faces suspension

The financial authority is poised to ask the prosecution to investigate Deutsche Bank AG and suspend part of businesses of the investment bank’s securities unit in Seoul for their alleged manipulation of stock prices, sources said Wednesday.

According to several regulatory officials, Deutsche Bank’s brokerage unit in Seoul may face business suspension for “six months” ― the highest administrative sanction level among the regulatory action of operation halting. The securities firm could be banned from selling a certain form of derivatives products.

The planned punitive action against them will likely be discussed and fine-tuned at a decision-making panel of the Financial Services Commission and the Financial Supervisory Service on Thursday.

It is expected that final decision will be set at the higher level decision-making panel ― the Securities & Futures Commission ― slated for Feb. 23.

In case of Deutsche Bank, unless it is acquitted after the prosecution’s investigation and the court’s ruling, the parent company could also face banking disciplinary rules.
 
Like its brokerage unit, the bank could be subject to suspension (or being warned or cautioned) by the financial regulators according to the coming criminal probe.
 
Germany-based Deutsche Bank has been suspected of reaping about 100 billion won ($89.2 million) on Nov. 11 by intentionally pulling down prices by dumping a great number of shares on the Korea Exchange after purchasing a fund which guarantees high return when the prices plunge.

Its allegedly illegitimate stock trading has incurred huge losses of other investors and the scheduled punitive action by the Korean watchdog will come as a stern warning against stock manipulators.

During the Nov. 11 trading session, the benchmark KOSPI index fell nearly 3 percent due mainly to foreigners’ massive selling.

The FSS and the Korea Exchange had confirmed that most foreign selling that day came from Deutsche Bank accounts.

According to the exchange, the bank was a top seller in most large-cap shares, such as Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor, and KB Financial Group.

Meanwhile, prosecutors said Wednesday that they have already launched preliminary inquiry into the local brokerage unit of Deutsche Bank.

The prosecution plans to form an investigative team when the financial regulators hand over the case.

By Cynthia J. Kim (cynthiak@heraldcorp.com)
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