BBK stock price manipulation incident

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Korean name
Hangul BBK 주가 조작 사건
Hanja -株
Revised Romanization Bibikei Jukka Jojak Saggeon
McCune–Reischauer Pipik'ei Chukka Chochak Sakkŏn

During the 2007 presidential election, questions about presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak's relationship with a company called BBK were raised. In 1999, Lee met BBK co-founder Kim Kyung-joon (also known as Christopher Kim) and established the LKE Bank with Kim Kyung-joon. However, this enterprise went bankrupt less than a year later and 5,500 investors lost substantial amounts of money. Kim Kyung-joon was investigated for large-scale embezzlement and stock price-fixing schemes. Kim Kyung-joon had initially stated that Lee was not involved with the company, and Lee himself denied being associated with BBK.

Kim Hong-il of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office cleared Lee of any wrongdoing, but three days before the election, a video of a speech Lee gave to students at Kwangwoon University in October 2000 surfaced, in which Lee "bragged" that he had founded and directed BBK activities.[1] Two days before the election, the National Assembly appointed a prosecutor to investigate.[2]

Special Investigator Chung Ho-young declared Lee innocent of accusations related to fraud and the BBK. Critics suggested that investigators may have felt too intimidated to delve too deeply into the case, as they interviewed Lee in a restaurant in Seoul that was once a kisaeng house.[3] In contrast, the special prosecutor team announced that the initially planned interview location was leaked to the media, so it urgently decided to do the interview at another location, a Korean restaurant away from the city. They also declared that they were fully prepared and the amount of time allocated for the investigation was sufficient.[4]

Eventually, prosecutors sought a 15-year sentence and a fine of 30 billion won for former BBK owner Kim Kyung-joon on charges of stock manipulation and embezzlement. In the final hearing held at the Seoul Central District Court, the prosecutors said Kim, who founded and operated the boiler-room operation is suspected of crimes including embezzlement of W31.9 billion of investors' money, stock manipulation, and the forgery and execution of private documents but had shown no remorse nor repaid his debts.

Earlier, Kim Ki-dong, a prosecutor at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office, said, "This is a case in which an individual person has made a mockery of the Republic of Korea."[5] For spreading "false" rumors about Lee on the eve of the presidential election, the Seoul Central District Court convicted Kim of violating the nation's election law, handing down a one-year prison term. He was given another six months for document forgery to back his attacks on Lee.[6] Prosecutors said in a statement that Kim had been changing the story with endless lies throughout the whole investigation process, making it extremely hard for them to draw up the protocol. He even denied their request to use a lie detector. Prosecutors added by saying, "Kim's defense attorney also made a false statement by saying those who testified against Kim were all liars and committing perjury. This, in fact, is a contradictory statement to the Attorneys-at-Law and attorney ethics".[7]

In the end, Kim Kyung-joon admitted that President Lee had nothing to do with the BBK scandal and that he tried to avoid criminal liability by manipulating the circumstance Korea was in.[8]

Some of the prosecutors who worked on the case were promoted under Lee's presidency. Meanwhile, the USA court judged that Kim was free from all kinds of prosecutions regarding BBK[citation needed].

According to Wikileaks, Yoo Chong-ha (유종하), the former co-chairman of Lee Myung-bak's presidential election campaign, requested to then American ambassador to South Korea, Alexander Vershbow, to delay the extraction of the main individual of the BBK embezzlement scandal, Kim Kyung-joon, to Korea on the request to prevent spreading controversies related to Lee Myung-bak's involvement in the BBK embezzlement scandal during the election season.[9][10][11][12]


Shin Myung, the alleged writer of the fake letter, returned to South Korea from the USA and turned himself to the SPO on April 4, 2012.[13]


DAS is a South Korean company that was involved in the BBK scandal. It is revealed in late December 2011 that certain members of Lee Myung-bak's family, thought not President Lee himself, has a portion of shares of DAS. The Korean government also owns a part of DAS, which was given to them as an inheritance tax.[14]

Reaction from the US Federal Court[edit]

The Korean language Korean-American newspaper, Sunday Journal, published an article on December 1, 2011, that the Supreme Court of the United States approved to withdraw the confiscation order from DAS on November 17, 2011.[15][16]


The Supreme Court of South Korea officially decided to indict one of the hosts of Naneun Ggomsuda, Chung Bong-ju, for false reporting of the BBK-related information.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "BBK Video Clip Revives UNDP-GNP Tensions". Dong-A Ilbo (English Edition). 2007-12-17. Archived from the original on 27 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  2. ^ "Special Counsel to Probe Lee Myung-bak". Digital Chosun Ilbo (English Edition). 2007-12-18. Archived from the original on 2008-01-20. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  3. ^ Sang-Hun, Choe (2008-02-21). "New South Korean Leader Cleared in Fraud Inquiry". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  4. ^ "고승덕, 친딸 "父 교육감 자격 없다" 발언 '해명'". Retrieved 2014-05-31. 
  5. ^ "15-Year Sentence Sought for BBK Suspect". Digital Chosun Ilbo (English Edition). 2008-04-11. 
  6. ^ ComDevlab (2008-07-04). "법원 'BBK 허위 유포' 김경준 징역 1년6월 추가 – 세계를 밝히는 신문 – 세계일보". Retrieved 2010-06-15. 
  7. ^ "뉴스]-檢, 김경준씨 징역 15년-벌금 300억원 구형". Retrieved 2010-06-15. 
  8. ^ Jimin Hong (2008-06-28). "김경준 "국민·MB에 죄송"". Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  9. ^ "07SEOUL3225, KIM KYUNG-JOON'S EXTRADITION CASE". Wikileaks. Retrieved 2011-12-17. 
  10. ^ "US embassy cable - 김경준 송환 사건" (in Korean). Wiki Leaks Korea. Retrieved 2011-12-17.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  11. ^ Choi (최), Min-yeong (민영) (2011-09-03). ""BBK 김경준 송환 미뤄달라" 이명박 후보 측 미국에 요청". The Hankyoreh (in Korean). Retrieved 2011-12-17. 
  12. ^ Mun (문), Yong-pil (용필) (2011-09-05). "위키리크스 MB실체 폭로…"사실상 매국" 경악". Newsface (in Korean). Retrieved 2011-12-17. 
  13. ^ Yi, Whan-woo (2012-04-03). "Key figure in forged BBK letter questioned". Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  14. ^ Park (박), Se-yeol (세열) (2011-12-23). "'MB 실소유' 논란 '다스'에 또 무슨 일이?". Pressian (in Korean). Retrieved 2011-12-25. 
  15. ^ Park (박), Sang-gyun (박상균) (2011-12-01). "[단독] 연방법원, (주)다스 소취하 요청승인". Sunday Journal USA (in Korean). Retrieved 2011-12-25. 
  16. ^ "미 연방법원 ‘다스, BBK 상대 140억 민사소송 취하’ 최종승인". Kyunghyang Shinmun (in Korean). 2011-12-02. Retrieved 2011-12-25. 
  17. ^ Ryu (류), Jeong-min (정민); Park Sae-mi (박새미) (2011-12-22). "정봉주 감옥행, MB정부 ‘나꼼수 파괴’ 현실로?". Media Today (in Korean). Retrieved 2012-01-15. 

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