Prosecutors have arrested three people, including the CEO of investment consulting firm H Ra Deok-yeon and his closest associates Byun Mo and An Mo, accelerating their investigation into allegations of stock price manipulation that led to the collapse of SG (Société Générale) securities.

Prosecutors also plan to investigate whether there was artificial intervention by major shareholders or other forces behind the sudden collapse of several stocks that have boosted their stock prices late last month.

On the 3th, Chief Judge Yoo Hwan-woo of the Southern District Law Division of Seoul issued arrest warrants for Ra, Byun, and Ahn, saying, "There is a fear of flight and destruction of evidence."

Prosecutors believe that they took over mobile phones and securities accounts from investors, set the buying and selling prices in advance, and floated the stock prices of various stocks, including Samcheolli and Dow Data, in a way of buying and selling stocks.

Mr. Byun oversaw Company H and led the recruitment of high-net-worth investors such as doctors.

He is also an in-house director at C, a cable channel operator that stock price manipulation forces have used as a fee window.

Ahn, a former professional golfer, is the CEO of S Indoor Golf Course in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, and Company C and A Equestrian Resort.

Prosecutors believe Ahn was tasked with recruiting high-net-worth investors, mainly for clients taking golf lessons.

Two weeks after the Seoul Southern District Prosecutor and the Financial Services Authority set up a joint investigation team, the investigation into the cause of the crash and additional accomplices and the cause of the crash is expected to gain momentum.

The investigation team also plans to look at the background of the massive outpouring of nine stocks, including Samcheolri, Dow Data, and Seoul Gas, since 11 March.

At that time, there is an analysis that the lower price rally was likely caused by the forces that noticed the investigation by the financial authorities and hurriedly threw up the sale.

An official from the Seoul Southern District Prosecutor said, "We will see whether the crash after the stock price rise was caused by market principles, or whether someone played a prank and intervened to gain economic gain."

It will also be investigated whether there were market participants who intended to crash with a large sell-off, or who saw signs that volumes were about to spill out and profited by pressing the sell button.

As a result, the investigation of major shareholders who cashed out their stakes just before the crash is likely to continue.

Dow Group Chairman Kim Ik-rae disposed of 2.9 million shares of Dow Data (24.2%) for 20,140 won in overtime trading on the 3th of last month, two trading days before the crash, securing 65.4 billion won.

As the controversy grew, Chairman Kim Ik-rae resigned as group chairman on the 3th and announced that he would return the proceeds from the stake sale to society.

Seoul Gas Chairman Kim Young-min also announced on the 245th of last month that he sold 605,4 shares at 17,45 won per share through an overtime trading method.

The total sale amount is about KRW 5.950 billion.

(Photo = Yonhap News)