CNBLUE’s Jung Yong Hwa Cleared of FNC Stock Insider Trading But Lee Jong Hyun Pays Fine


It’s a mix bag of news for two members of Korean boy band CNBLUE, and likely overall a ding for the reputation of the involved members and/or the entire group as a whole. The Seoul authorities have been investigating Jung Yong Hwa for insider trading in the past week, and the investigation further expanded to include his fellow band member Lee Jong Hyun. The investigation has concluded with Jung Yong Hwa being cleared and Lee Jong Hyun agreeing to pay a fine for insider trading.

Their stories goes like this – Jung Yong Hwa claimed his mother was trading the FNC Entertainment stocks in his name and he knew nothing about it, only selling it after the stock rose once the agency signed Yoo Jae Seok, whereas Lee Jong Hyun heard about the signing at the company and bought stock claiming he did not know the news was not public yet and once he heard he held the stock and didn’t sell it so he didn’t make a profit. It’s basically the variation of the dog ate my homework (my mom traded for me) and the I didn’t know defense.

I think insider trading is one of those white collar crimes where money is almost always enough penalty, disgorgement of profits earned and/or additional fines as deterrence. Looks like the authorities accepted Jung Yong Hwa’s explanation and let him off the hook, even if the coincidental timing of the purchase of so many shares happened mere days before Yoo Jae Suk’s signing and the shares were sold right after he signed (within a span of a week). As for Lee Jong Hyun, he’s still holding on to the FNC shares he bought which are currently underwater, plus with the fine he paid, it certainly will be a deterrence in the future to not trade willy nilly.


CNBLUE’s Jung Yong Hwa Cleared of FNC Stock Insider Trading But Lee Jong Hyun Pays Fine — 26 Comments

  1. ok so next time, if you know the stock gonna be rose before the public, ask your family member to buy it for you

  2. Actually the full story that I read is like this. Yonghwa’s stock was given to him as part of his company’s contract. He has the option of buying it which he did back in 2014(way before YJS was rumored to join FNC) however the stock was officially credited to him by the company during the YJS rumors. It was an unfortunate coincidental timing. As his mother was in charge of his finances, when she saw the spike, decided to sell it.

    I think a lot of people are misunderstanding how it works. And because I am one of the ignorant ones when it comes to stock tradings, I decided to ask around. Selling of stock during a rise is not wrong. It is actually the proper way to do it. Of course you would sell your stock when you see a rise. However buying it with an intent when you received insider information is the crime. Which was why Yonghwa and his mum are cleared of the charges. Because they purchased the stocks before all of this is happening. Whereas in Jonghyun’s case, he bought the stock clearly because he received information which was why he’s found guilty. But the good thing about it is that he realized it was wrong so he didnt sell his stocks during the spike and kept it. Hence he was only being fined for it.

    It’s really hard to explain.

    • and you believe all that? His mother and his friend know all about this except him? Plus I read there was a transaction before the famous MC joined in.
      One thing I love about Kpop is how the fans so easy to be manipulated by the all the people behind all the mess.

      • It’s not about believing or not believing about HIS statement. But it’s about the facts that are revealed during the police investigations. And the fact is that the stocks were purchased from way back which the police investigated to be true. So yeah whether you want to believe the police or not it’s completely up to you. Though yeah Korean Police have always been known to be really corrupted.

      • Anyway, I don’t think that I mentioned anywhere that I believe in the statement nor am I a fan though. I only stated what I have read about the full story published on official Korean news sites. In a way, I’m just sharing for those who don’t know what the full story is. This is not a tale that I am weaving by myself but it is what is written on an article that I read. Also I am also just sharing about what most people misunderstood the crime to be. Because I’m sure there are plenty of people out there, like me, who not knowledgeable of what’s going on or the process of stock trading. A lot were thinking that the selling is what creates the problem but it is actually the purchasing that is causing the problems and the intent of purchase. I think it is a bit unfair that you have immediately misconstrued my comment as being a ‘delusional fan’ just because it seems to ambiguously take his side but I can assure you that I am not 😉

      • @dada, it seems nowadays Korean judiciary system has no much credibility to ppl. I don’t get how netizens are so gullible to believe random online rumors or the media rather than just accept the fact that a suspect is assumed innocent once he’s acquitted.

    • It’s called a stock option maturing with the option to buy. This is easy to check for two reasons (1) a contract stating the option date with quantity and price that he can buy and (2) whether he bought at market price or option price.

      You’re right that people should be selling once the price goes high but people do not sell all or most of their shares that they bought as an option maturing. So even if is not insider trading, it sure has the appearance of it without knowing the option details.

      What Lee Jong Hyun did is considered insider trading even if he didn’t sell.

      I not sure how strict Korea is but in the US, the SEC would go down hard on you

  3. Erm I don’t know why everyone has so much suspicion and anger. The report I read on Soompi said that YongHwa and his mom bought stocks BEFORE negotiations to sign YJS started. That’s why they were cleared. The stocks were sold after the rise, but that’s perfectly legal and normal- people sell stocks when they rise in price to make money. That’s how you make money on the stock market.
    And for Jong Hyun’s case- he was fined and charged, and he admitted to wrong doing. So it’s not like he got off scot free.
    And I’m not a fan of either of them or the band. I just don’t know why everyone seems so vindictive nowadays even when justice has been served.
    Smile everyone! It’s Friday 🙂

    • Insider trading is notoriously hard to prove, but buying stocks mere days before a big news is made public and then selling it immediately in the days after is really really shady even if legally the government can’t prove that he bought on the early news. JYH being cleared doesn’t mean it wasn’t insider trading, just that the government can’t prove it with the explanation he’s given even if the optics are terrible.

      • Koala – it’s good to see someone give an explanation like you. I absolutely agree with you. Just because they get away with it in the eyes of the law, it doesn’t mean they are innocent. Anyhow, I doubt they were the only ones who insider traded on the YS news.

      • I suppose no one will know the truth except those involved, but I’m just a bit tired of conspiracy theories. I mean, maybe just maybe he knew they were considering talking to YJS, but he wouldn’t know if YJS would sign yet, unless you think YJS is also in on it as well, and told JYH. And then for some reason he was smart enough to get his mother to buy the stocks, but wasn’t smart enough to not sell them immediately so as to not raise suspicions. Anyway I just always like to give people the benefit of the doubt and look at the glass half full until I’m proven wrong.
        But yes, I do agree with you that it isn’t easy to prove but yeah, just my opinion. Have a good weekend Koala!

      • Insider trading by legal definition is dubious from business perspectives. To legally constitute insider trading, there must be solid evidence or official documents to justify the allegation. In the capital market, there’re always channels for big investors to be privy to specific financial information that they can utilize to make huge profits. These kinds of communication access are only available to certain privileged ppl that fit the business definition of “insiders”. But their timely capital investment due to the “insider” information is all legal. If JYH is put to shame by public thanks to this kind of acquitted “insider trading,” then most of the capital investors should be guilty of their ways of conducting business. Once he’s cleared, he’s innocent. Ppl should not label him unnecessarily.

  4. Well, I guess a lot of ppl still have the mentality to act like jury or judges. No wonder it is always easier for K media to manipulate public since ppl are so gullible. There’s no point or benefits for prosecutors to let go of Jung Yong Hwa while penalizing his bandmate. Once the verdict is out and the accused is acquitted, he is assumed to be innocent. I don’t think many ppl even knew what insider trading was all about before this incident and therefore would easily make the same rash mistake as Jonghyun if they came across the same temptation. Just put yourself in their shoes.

  5. What? So the guy who sold his stocks and made a profit is cleared and the guy who didn’t sell his stocks and didn’t make any money is paying a fine?! I guess if you look at the timing of the purchasing of stocks then yes, that’s right, but poor guy, no profit and instead minus. But I believe it’s possible JYH’s mom did it and not him, but if it’s in his name, doesn’t that make him still responsible? And did anyone else, non-idol from the company do the same thing? Are we only hearing about them because they are celebrities? Sounds like more than these two were involved.

  6. if he’s proven wrong, people said “yess he’s deserve it, guess i am right” but when FACT, he’s cleared “noooo he’s lying, he used his mom, The Seoul authorities didn’t investigate him right” yeeaahh people keep believing what they want to believe. I’m not defense him, but if The Seoul authorities declared he’s cleared, of course not only by JYH explanation but with the proofs too. Idk why so many people keep blaming him.

  7. Well, every mother will shield her child to protect and clean her son’s image. I’m just so disappointed with Yonghwa when he agreed that his mother will take all the blame.

    Because, in my OPINION, it’s impossible that his fully unknowledgeable about all of this.

  8. Well, it doesn’t matter what authorities said – the koreans already heard “My mom did it”. Blaming a parent is one of the most disrespectful things for them.
    And just for information – yes, he recieved the stocks in 2014, but they were not a gift – an approval and a payment should be done too. YH’s mom did this a week before the rise in price.

  9. Mother is everything in our live. How can you do that to your mom.., don’t hurt your mom for your benefit it just disrespectful tbh ?????

  10. Insider trading is one of those victimless crimes that shouldn’t even be a crime. Many people who don’t understand stock trading think it is like embezzlement or fraud which victimizes someone, but the truth is that “insider” trading is just a normal part of any market. People buy and sell things all the time because they know something that most people don’t. People who understand that and are opposed to it are just envious.

    Like most victimless crimes, lots of people do it because they think the law is wrong. And also like most victimless crimes, most people get away with it because enforcement is usually politically motivated in one way or another. It’s like when a few high-profile medical marijuana users got sent to jail because people in law enforcement wanted to be seen as “tough on drugs.”

    • Most ppl who have no experience or knowledge with financial sector assume capital investors just gain profits by their outsmarting insight on capital market and absolutely have nothing to do with insider trading. I don’t take this kind of crap that some financial gurus are simply more intelligent in their investment strategies. That’s not how the real financial world functions. Yes, for developed countries (including S Korea) there are legislation and regulations to assure all the investors on the equal playing field. But it only protects less powerful investors to a certain degree since law is never perfect. I still believe a lot of big fish in the capital market are privy to insider information regarding capital movement and cleverly made it profitable to them; they also know how to circumvent regulation loopholes to make timely investment and have huge gains. These big fish are usually the major share holders, board of directors, or executives in a corporate. It’s unfair by theory. But unfortunately most laws have no effective ways to police ambiguous frauds.

      I believe CNBlue case was just cherry picked by SK prosecutors and somehow the timing was pretty odd given that there’s another much much bigger black hole under investigation (Lotte). But K celebrities’ coverage seems steal a lot of public attention from the real trouble maker.

      I’m not saying Jung Yong Hwa absolutely knew nothing about the trading before it took place and he had no business to do with his mom’s decision or action. But the thing is, there’s no legal evidence to prove that if he did or not. So he’s OFFICIALLY claimed innocent. You can’t argue that he was guilty bcos the timing of his stock trading was suspicious. If the official document shows that the negotiation between his agency and the famed MC didn’t start until after he already purchased the stocks, then he’s not subject to the rules to restrict insider trading even his stock transaction took place just one day before the official negotiation. Law is law. You have to respect the verdict. If you keep saying he’s guilty, then you are at risk of being defaming his reputation since you have no solid evidence to justify your belief.

  11. The prosecution statement didnt even mentioned about Yonghwa’s mom.FNC is the one who brings up his mother

    The prosecution let him go because the purchase of stocks was done before the leak date and the condition of buying was already there in his 2014 contract,his mother just exercise the option to do so

    whereas Jonghyun purchased the stock right after the leak date after getting the info from an acquitance in FNC.he sold some of it and keep the balance when he realized it will cause legal problem to him

    There’s nothing such as him selling his mother because his mother was not indicted at all

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