China's top court publishes guidelines on securities crimes
Two judicial documents on how to handle securities-related crimes will take effect on July 1 to better protect the legitimate rights of investors and ensure a healthy market.
The Supreme People's Court (SPC) and the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) jointly issued two judicial interpretations on June 28: one on fighting the manipulation of the securities and futures market; the other on how to handle crimes where people take advantage of undisclosed investment-related information.
As Chinese laws are usually general and sometimes lack details, the top court can issue judicial interpretations on certain legislation to give judges a clear guide in handling particular cases.
The two new interpretations come amid rising criminal cases involving "rat trading" and market manipulations in China.
"Rat trading", known as front-running in the United States and European markets, usually refers to the practice whereby fund managers use personal accounts to buy shares cheaply, then sell them at a profit after purchases from the funds they manage have boosted their value.
Since 2015, prosecutors nationwide have charged 128 people with obtaining profits by taking advantage of undisclosed investment-related information, according to Xian Jie, deputy director of the SPP's law policy research office.
Li Yong, presiding judge at the SPC's No 3 Criminal Division, said courts nationwide heard 112 criminal cases of "rat trading" and securities and futures market manipulation over the past four years.
"Such practices have harmed the legitimate interests of investors, disturbed market order and threatened the country's financial security," Li said.
To help judicial officers better handle such crimes, the newly released interpretations clearly define the scope of "undisclosed investment information" and also clarify what circumstances could be categorized as "serious" or "extremely serious".
For example, if the amount of illicit gains reaches 1 million yuan ($145,457) or above, the case could be deemed as "serious", according to the interpretations.
The two interpretations represent a further effort made by the top judicial authorities to help safeguard a healthy capital market.
A week ago, the SPC issued a guideline that requires all courts to offer better legal services to ensure the smooth operation of the nation's newly-launched Nasdaq-style tech board.
Zhou Lanxu contributed to this story.