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Deutsche Bank employees indicted over stock manipulation

All Headlines 11:47 August 21, 2011

SEOUL, Aug. 21 (Yonhap) -- Four employees of Deutsche Bank AG and its South Korean brokerage unit have been indicted on charges of making massive profits from illegal stock market trading last year, prosecution officials said Sunday.

Three foreign employees, including a ranking official at the German bank's Hong Kong office, and one South Korea employee at Deutsche Securities Korea, are accused of pocketing 44.8 billion won (US$41.3 million) through the alleged market manipulation that triggered a sharp 2.7-percent plunge in the key local stock index KOSPI on Nov. 11. The South Korean brokerage unit was also indicted on the same charges.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said it believes that employees at the German bank's overseas bureaus gave orders to the Seoul unit to place massive sell orders in the closing minutes of trading on that day, the expiry date of stock index options.

The sell orders were supposedly placed in order to bring handsome returns on their holdings of put options, which were structured to yield profits upon key index plunges.

Prosecutors said the indictment was based strictly on evidence since the foreign employees refused to answer a subpoena issued in April.

"This incident caused serious damage to the stability and transparency of South Korea's stock markets, which rank no. 1 in the world for option trade volumes," said Lee Seok-hwan, the chief prosecutor in charge of the case.

If the employees refuse to appear before court, prosecutors said they plan to request their extradition from Hong Kong authorities after seeking a detention warrant, and ask Interpol for its cooperation.

The sum allegedly gained through illegal trading was seized under a Seoul court order earlier in the year.

hague@yna.co.kr
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