Show These Gamblers the Door

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Show These Gamblers the Door

Public frustration and fury are mounting as a result of the loan scandals involving Chin Seung-hyon and Chung Hyon-joon. It has emerged that these men in their 20s and 30s illegally amassed hundreds of billions of won in less than three years since the 1997 foreign exchange crisis. In their prime, the pair were known as financial geniuses; now it turns out they were wizards in the magic circles of fraud and lobbying.

These young men may claim that all finance is a gamble, but they do not seem to acknowledge that rules apply even in gambling. Finance entails the free flow of money and gives its handlers scope to take advantage of loopholes in the prevailing laws and systems. Yes, it is true that people in the financial world can make money without being ensnared in the net of the law. But it is also true that most financiers do not try to take advantage of every single loophole. In this sector, morality has been emphasized more than in any other. The market''s tradition is that people involved in the finance sector should not violate the laws of common sense, let alone those of the land. In particular, the market has clung fast to two basic precepts: liberty and fairness. Anyone may play but the rules are applied fairly to everyone.

Only if rules are strictly followed can the financial market evolve. These days, the number of "gentlemen" players has shrunk and fairness is nowhere to be seen. Such an atmosphere was bound to throw up the likes of Mr. Chung and Mr. Chin, and other Chungs and Chins must be scattered across the financial landscape. Belated though such action may be, financiers should act quickly to reclaim their rightful positions. Most importantly, systems and regulations that will guarantee fairness - for example, principles governing public announcements and an adequate supervisory framework - must be introduced without delay. The Financial Supervisory Service requires a thorough overhaul. To ensure proper financial regulation, the investigation of figures such as Mr. Chung and Mr. Chin should be expanded and, if they are found to have been culpable, they should be punished severely.

by Seong Byong-wook

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