December 4, 2015 / 7:44 AM / 3 years ago

South Korea regulator probing possible illegal trading in Samsung C&T merger

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea’s financial regulator is looking into whether any insider trading or market manipulation had taken place during the merger of two Samsung Group affiliates earlier this year, two regulatory officials said on Friday.

Employees are reflected on a logo of Samsung C&T Corp at the company's headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, July 16, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

The officials declined to comment on the details of the probe or say if there was any indication of illegal activity surrounding the deal which brought together Samsung C&T Corp and Cheil Industries Inc.

Another regulatory official said the stock market operator had passed on details of trades that might have used undisclosed information to buy large amounts of Cheil Industries shares before the merger was announced.

Yonhap news agency had earlier reported that nine executives at Samsung Group affiliates were being investigated on suspicion of insider trading related to the deal.

Asked about the probe, parent Samsung Group said it was aware that “certain individuals” were being investigated but gave no further details. “We will wait until the authorities conclude their investigation,” it added in a statement.

The merger of Cheil and C&T was announced in May, and approved by shareholders in July.

The regulatory officials declined to be named as the investigation remained confidential.

Reporting by Joyce Lee and Lee Chang-ho; additional reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Miral Fahmy

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