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Regulator to probe Hyundai Motor execs for alleged insider trading

The headquarters buildings of Hyundai Motor and affiliate Kia in Yangjae, southern Seoul. (Yonhap)
The headquarters buildings of Hyundai Motor and affiliate Kia in Yangjae, southern Seoul. (Yonhap)


Financial authorities will launch an investigation into executives of Hyundai Motor on allegations that they used undisclosed information regarding Apple’s electric vehicle project to profit from share trading, industry sources said Sunday.

The Korea Exchange has passed on the case to the Financial Services Commission to begin its own probe as early as this month and decide whether to refer the case to prosecutors, industry insiders said.

The KRX investigation, launched during the last week of February, was prompted after speculation rose from political circles that 12 Hyundai Motor executives earned illegal gains by selling the company’s stocks, from Jan. 11 to 27.

Hyundai Motor executives reportedly dumped a total of 3,402 shares, which amounted to more than 800 million won ($712,000), just before the automaker’s announcement that its talks with Apple over the EV project had ended.

On Jan. 8, stock prices of Hyundai Motor and affiliate Kia sharply rose following news reports that the two carmakers held talks with Apple to cooperate on the US tech giant’s EV production, known as “Project Titan.” 

A month later, the two automakers’ share prices plunged by 6.21 percent and 15 percent, respectively to 234,000 won and 86,300 won after the announcement of the failed partnership, industry data showed. 

Either the FSC’s capital markets research division or the market watchdog Financial Supervisory Service will lead the envisioned probe, the sources added. 

Under current regulations, the KRX should submit a report on its probe into insider stock trading cases to the FSC if they find evidence of illegal uses of undisclosed information.

By Choi Jae-hee (cjh@heraldcorp.com)
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