I listened intently. If reporter Kang Joo-hyuk said something here, I might ferret out a dark secret above it.
Reporter Kang Joo-hyuk said in a trembling voice, “No, I don’t know… I don’t know, but CEO Han…”
Maybe because of his fear, I thought he was a little out of his mind.
I spoke in a calm voice as much as I could, “Yes. Say it.”
“Could I… see you in person?”
“That’s nice. I was going to buy you a meal, but…”
“Where… where there are many people… did you say you live in Gangnam?”
“Yes, it’s near Gangnam Station.”
He continued to speak in a trembling voice, “Oh, I see. I see. Gangnam Station is crowded. That’s great. That’s great. I’ll get back to you. Let’s meet and talk in person.”
After I finished my phone call, I looked at my cell phone for a moment. ‘A devil must be afraid to be dragged down to Hell.’ However, there was not much I could do to help him. The corruption had already been exposed, and investors across the country were rushing in with knives and forks for Bisang Construction. The stock price of Bisang Construction would inevitably be expected to fall for some time even after hitting the lower limit price.
That was not the only thing.
‘Jinyang Development, where they made a downward bet, would bring in not only institutional investors, foreign investors, but also ants who smelled the sweets. In this case, ants are scarier because they irrationally buy the stock and hoard it until it the bubble bursts.
‘The losses are fixed. This is already spilled water. There’s no way I can help him…
‘Of course, I may spare him if I pay my own money to make up for the losses on the other end. But that’s ridiculous. With that money, I would rather give support to children starving to death in Africa on the other side of the world. Even if he stretches over my trouser legs, there is no turning back. He knows that, too, if he’s sane.
‘Now that I heard his voice, I think he’s out of his mind, and he’s calling me… It doesn’t mean anything. The only way he can live is to turn himself in and go to jail. That might be better. He could at least save his life if he were in jail.
‘In American drama, when they go to prison, they die by another inmate. Well, our prisons aren’t that bad. The next time I meet him… I’ll have to try and persuade him that way, “Turn yourself into the police and confess everything you have done to manipulate stock prices in the past. Tell them who the owners of the money are and pay for the price of sin. Then at least you won’t be buried in the hills or forced to kill yourself.”
‘Then, Lee Ah-young’s parents will also be able to recover their honor. She may also shed the depression caused by her parents’ death.
‘The news must be a better gift for her than any flowers…’
I put down my cell phone, thinking pleasant thoughts.
“Mayor Joo Sung-won himself said that there was corruption in the selection process of a business operator.”
I lay on the sofa and watched the news with my chin up. In the end, the corruption news on the selection of the business operator was carried by the nine o’clock news. As a political magnate, the focus was more geared toward the Mayor Joo Sung-won and who had taken bribes, rather than Bisang Construction and Jung Gi-woong, who had given them.
It was all done by subordinates of Mayor Joo Sung-won, but the news reported the reaction of politicians and the ones of the public.
“The opposition parties have strongly insisted that Mayor Joo Sung-won is responsible.”
“Joo Sung-won, the mayor of Seoul, should take responsibility for the incident and step down on his own…”
“People are showing some mixed reactions to the incident.”
“Maybe the mayor is responsible, too.”
“There are a lot of Seoul government officials, and he can’t know everything, can he? I think it’s more believable that he exposed it on his own.”
I looked at it and thought, ‘That’s what I expected, too.’
Mayor Joo Sung-won’s move, where he hit first, was not bad. I nodded and found the remote control. Well, I’d seen all the news I wanted to see, so…
“This is the following news. There’s a disclosure that stock price manipulators have intervened in the stock of Bisang Construction, in the corruption case of the Old City Regeneration Project. I’m a reporter, Jeon Gook-jin.”
Such news came out. ‘… what?’ I watched more alertly.
In the news, a modulated voice and the reporter’s voice alternated.
“After all… it’s going to be Bisang Construction. Let’s buy it for six months, pass it on to the ants and leave.”
“You’ve known this since six months ago?”
“Yes. Yes. … since six months ago…”
But I was familiar with that modulated voice.
“One informant, who asked for anonymity, revealed the specific operation schedule and methods.”
“It was all… it was all a squeeze-and-pitch go-stop. It was done by talking to government officials. Being selected as a business operator… Competitors should also be invited to become bridesmaids, and then choose Bisang Construction, so let’s double the share price and come out. Like that.”
‘… this guy… reporter Kang Joo-hyuk?’
Reporter Kang Joo-hyuk, who had talked on the phone earlier, was overloaded despite his voice modulation.
“He said the corruption case turned the operation into a blister.”
“It… should have gone to the upper limit price today, but it went to the lower limit price, so it was ruined. Who’s going to take responsibility? Who’s that?”
I thought he was the one who stammered his voice and repeated the same thing twice.
‘Has he made up his mind to expose it all to the media?’
Perhaps this was wiser. The last time, we looked at the case of Go-young Food, where public power did not protect citizens, either. It would have been difficult for the forces to use its power if he were to make the matter public this way. He was a reporter, so maybe this side was easier and more comfortable…
“In addition to the case of corruption, stock price manipulation… There’s a constant stream of noise surrounding Bisang Construction. I’m reporter Jeon Gook-jin, for BKS News.”
I watched all the news with my eyes wide. At the end of the news, my cell phone rang. It was Secretary Seo. I took it.
“Boss, we’re in trouble.” Secretary Seo made a slight fuss.
“The prosecution says… our company will be investigated about the stock price manipulation as well.”
“Ah.” Come to think of it, our company was also involved. Our company also traded Bisang Construction, although we moved in the opposite direction from the operational forces. I said bluntly, “Yeah. Okay. So when are they coming? The prosecutors.”
“They’ll be here tomorrow.”
“So I’ll see you tomorrow when I get to work.”
As I spoke calmly, Seo’s voice was also slightly lowered, “Yes, boss… By the way, are you okay?”
“Well, our company… almost lost it.”
Our company was clean. I’d already anticipated this scenario. We had also sold all the shares of Bisang Construction before the surge, like we didn’t know there was going to be a spike.
“Well, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
A middle-aged man asked me, “So, CEO Han Sang-hoon, you ordered a short stock sale because you didn’t think Bisang Construction would be selected?”
His eyes glared at me.
‘You are the prosecutor and your look is great.’ I said, thinking about that, “Yes. I thought Jinyang Development and Hanbit Construction were much more likely than Bisang Construction. Therefore, it was too much to expect the share price of Bisang Construction to rise by fifty percent. It was definitely a bubble and I wanted to make a falling bet… I ordered a short stock sale.”
He said, looking at the share price of Bisang Construction, which was at the lower limit price of -30%. “So you did it. You must have made a lot of money today, right?”
After all, we were the final winners.
“Yes, but… until yesterday morning, it was a loss. And then the corruption news broke, and I was lucky to make a dime.”
I turned my head and looked at Vice President Jang beside me, eye to eye. “That’s why I’ve been discussing this with Jang all weekend. I told him what to do when the loss got bigger. Isn’t that right, Jang?”
Vice President Jang also nodded and carried on, “I really thought we were going to lose money. After the announcement of the business operator selection over the weekend, I thought we were in trouble. So I talked to the boss on the phone and discussed how to reduce the loss. If you look it up, you’ll have the call record. It’s okay for you to listen to the conversation.”
We had certainly exchanged such calls on the weekend.
‘What should I do with the short stock sale, boss?
‘It’s okay. Sometimes we lose money when we invest.’
It was hard to believe that someone who lost on the gambling used such a trick. The prosecutor also confirmed the point and nodded.
A man, who appeared to be an investigator for the prosecution, brought in a lot of papers and said, “I’ve talked to the team about the short stock sale, and they said they were still waiting on Monday afternoon to buy back. They tried to buy back after the news on Monday, but they couldn’t because it went to the lower limit price so fast.”
Upon receiving the report, the middle-aged prosecutor nodded, “Yes, I see. You almost lost your money, but the disclosure came out and you made a fortune…”
The disclosure was done by me, but that process was beyond anyone’s knowledge. They would not look for me when I exposed massive corruption in the first place. Mayor Joo Sung-won, the leading candidate for the next presidential election, was protecting me.
“Yes, thank you.”
This was going to be neat. I watched them go out of the company with my arms crossed. Vice President Jang went after them. I watched him for a moment.
‘What’s wrong with him?’
Then, about ten minutes later, he came back and told me, “I don’t think it’s going to be any problem at all. The prosecution has decided to devote its energy to tracking down those who bought stocks rather than us.”
I guessed he had followed the prosecutor and been told that. “Really?”
“Yes. He said those who have manipulated the stock prices this time are quite a big force. I think the prosecutor is very interested in them.”
That was great. In fact, Newsmaker Kang Joo-hyuk was nothing more than a long-term horse. Tak Joon-gi, Lee Won-jun, and Lee Won-jae should be brought up, so the case should be solved properly. I thought of the three men in a prison uniform. It was quite a contrast to holding a glass of champagne at Garden Envy.
‘They have to pay for their sins.’ That was when I was thinking about it. My cell phone rang once more. When I looked at it, the caller was Lee Won-jae of Daewon Daily News.
It was Kaiji.
‘Oh, I am a popular man.’ With such a thought, I took my cell phone and headed for my office.
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