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Three HYBE employees face insider trading charges

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HYBE Headquarters in Yongsan District, central Seoul [HYBE]

Three HYBE employees have been referred to the prosecution for insider trading, financial authorities said Wednesday.

The Financial Supervisory Service allege that they sold their shares of HYBE after learning before the public that BTS, a popular K-pop boy band the company manages, will be taking a break in group activities.

The hiatus put a dent on HYBE’s stock price.

The official announcement of the band’s hiatus came in on June 14 last year. The company’s stock sank 24.87 percent the next day, on June 15.

Financial authorities also pointed out that HYBE’s announcing the band’s hiatus only through videos uploaded on social media platforms made it difficult for investors to make informed investment decisions.

The accused employees are estimated to have made 230 million won ($173,600) through the trade.

FSS urged entertainment agencies listed on the stock market to “establish a system in which information is disclosed to the investors openly, in a proper manner, and strengthen internal control so its employees cannot utilize [inside] information.”

BTS revealed last year that it will take a break from its group activities during a video uploaded on the boy band’s YouTube channel. Members at the time said that the decision was to strengthen individual members’ solo activities, but market watchers suspected it was for their imminent military duties.

Member Jin started his service last December and J-Hope this April.

BY CHO YONG-JUN [cho.yongjun1@joongang.co.kr]

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