China's securities regulator Wednesday levied a record penalty of 5.67 billion yuan (about 900 million U.S. dollars) on a domestic company for manipulating stock prices.
The penalty, the largest ever issued by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), underscored the country's resolve to regulate the stock market and root out illegal practices.
The penalty fell on Beibadao (Xiamen) Logistics Group, which reaped illegal profits of 945 million yuan by manipulating shares of newly-listed companies, including Jiangsu Zhangjiagang Rural Commercial Bank and Jiangsu Jiangyin Rural Commercial Bank.
In the case, 301 stock trading accounts of Beibadao's employers and relevant personnel had been used to manipulate the shares, CSRC said in a statement.
Two people in charge, Lin Qingfeng and Lin Yuting, were each fined 1.8 million yuan and received a life-long securities market-entry ban penalty, while another person, Li Junmiao, faced 1.2 million yuan of fine and a 10-year market-entry ban.
The move comes amid tougher market oversight and more severe punishment for illegal trading in recent years.
The country had more than 3,500 listed firms, with a total value nearing 58 trillion yuan, as of the end of last year.