regulator-stock manipulation

SEOUL, March 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's financial regulator said Thursday it is pushing for raising the reward for reports on stock price rigging as part of an effort to stem market manipulation that can result in massive damages for retail investors.

The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), the country's financial watchdog, is in the process of raising the upper limit for rewards handed out for reporting stock price rigging to the financial authorities, according to FSS officials.

The extent of how much it will raise the reward hasn't been determined yet, they said. Currently, the reward stands at 100 million won (US$90,138).

The regulator's move came as part of broader efforts by the new government to clamp down on illegal activities in the market. President Park Geun-hye has pushed for a plan to normalize the underground economy during her campaign.

She stressed the need to stem stock price manipulation at a recent Cabinet meeting since it can cause financial damage to retail investors.

According to the FSS, the current reward system for stock price rigging reports has been ineffective. There were only five cases of reports that ended up in reward payments worth a total of 39.2 million won in 2012, which is less than that of the year before.

"Most tip-offs weren't detailed enough to be qualified to get a reward," said an FSS official.

Other related authorities have taken similar moves. The National Tax Service has seen a hike in receiving notifications on tax evasion since it raised the reward to 1 billion won late last year. The Supreme Court raised the maximum sentence to 15 years in jail for crimes that violate fairness in the capital market.

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