SEOUL, March 13 South Korea is looking into
share trading of 13 companies which are believed to be linked to
possible presidential candidates ahead of an election in two
months, the country's financial watchdog said on Monday.
The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said it is
investigating whether there may have been speculation in shares
in eight firms which are thought to be linked to possible
candidates and is looking into five others ahead of an official
There could be more as the election date approaches, a
senior FSS official said, declining to be identified as he was
not authorised to speak to media.
"Due to swift changes in the political situation inside the
country and as presidential candidates emerge, the possibility
of unusual politics-related stock movements has grown," the FSS
said in a statement.
South Korea's Constitutional Court removed President Park
Geun-hye from office on Friday over a graft scandal, triggering
a snap presidential election that must be held within 60
The FSS did not disclose details on the stock listings it is
looking into, as the information could affect share prices.
The FSS has been operating a special team since early
January to look for speculation in stocks which are perceived by
investors to be linked to presidential candidates.
Any traders who warrant a criminal investigation will be
handed over to prosecutors.
Financial authorities, including the Korea Exchange, are
monitoring around 150 such listings.
The financial regulator said on Sunday it will closely
monitor markets to prevent speculators and unfair trade
practices ahead of the election.
(Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Kim Coghill)