Singapore’s markets regulator has banned a former employee of brokerage UOB Kay Hian for one year due to market manipulation and false trading.

Yesterday the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it had taken civil action against Lee Wee-Soon.

On March 25, 2008, Lee put in five buy orders for Cosco Corporation via his personal account to buy 1.1 million shares at prices between $3.38 and $3.48 per share during the Singapore Exchange securities trading pre-open phase. His orders represented 62.7% of all buy order quantities queuing at the 20 best bid prices of Cosco shares.

Lee simultaneously placed a sale order for 100,000 Cosco shares at $3.35 and then deleted the buy orders just before the opening price for Cosco shares was determined at 8.59am.

Lee admitted to putting in the order to inflate the opening price of Cosco shares during the pre-open phase, thus encouraging other people to buy Cosco shares when the market opened at 9am. He had no intention of fulfilling the orders; his goal was simply to boost the price before he sold the shares. He received profits of $3,645 as a result of his actions.

Lee has paid the penalty fine of $50,000 without court action being taken. MAS has also banned him from entering the market for one year.