Last Updated: 2012-06-28
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SEOUL, June 28 (NNN-Yonhap) -- Three men who manipulated stock prices by spreading false rumours of a nuclear reactor explosion in North Korea have been sentenced to prison terms, court officials said Thursday.

The rumours, which circulated through an online messenger service, claimed a light-water reactor had exploded in North Korea and was leaking radioactive materials that could reach the South.

On Jan 6, the rumours hit South Korean stock markets, causing the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index to fall 1.11 percent, after shedding as much as 2.12 percent at one point. The local currency depreciated 0.88 percent against the greenback.

A 28-year-old surnamed Woo was sentenced to two years in prison, according to officials at the Seoul Central District Court.

The court sentenced Woo's two accomplices to one and a half years and one year in prison, suspended for three years.

The three pocketed a total of 29 million won (US$17,323) from the difference in stock prices triggered by their schemes, the officials said.

The trio was also involved in a separate stock manipulation in February that stemmed from false rumours of a vaccine development at a pharmaceutical company. -- NNN-YONHAP