Get to the bottom of corruption

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Get to the bottom of corruption

The stock market, an essential feature of the free economy, must ensure transparency, fairness and equality. Thousands of individual investors are in front of their computers with a dream of amassing wealth. Korea sternly punishes stock crimes, embezzlement and negligence of duty of management to uphold healthy capitalism.

The prosecution therefore must be thorough in its investigations into the allegations around biotech company SillaJen and Lime Asset Management. Both cases implicated the involvement of people in the governing power. Their profiteering at the expense of minority shareholders has been outrageous.

SillaJen executives are suspected of profiteering by dumping share holdings after its stock price jumped from misleading announcement of breakthrough in new drug development. Its CEO became a millionaire and bought a luxury home. He was not remorseful when traders were heavily burned by the company’s stock price tumbling 90 percent from its peak.

Rhyu Si-min, the former head of the Roh Moo-hyun administration and outspoken defender of the incumbent government, publicly ridiculed the prosecution for including him in the investigation. “Dig all you like. Nothing will come up. You’d better give up now,” he said.

Prosecution must not waver. The case of Lime underscores the government’s neglect. Shares of the companies invested by Lime lost nearly 90 percent. It could not have been so reckless in investment and fund management if it did not have some kind of connection with the government. Several officials in the Blue House and Financial Supervisory Service are under suspicion. There is speculation that the government may have been watching its back as employees fled after packing up remaining corporate money.

Political reform may never take place if corruption is committed under political influence. The ruling front must not interfere with the prosecutor’s investigation.

JoongAng Ilbo, April 23, Page 30

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