Police launch case against ex-bank chief
Wed, Jul 14, 2010
The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network

Tokyo police have decided to pursue a criminal case against former Incubator Bank of Japan executives, including a former chairman, over allegedly obstructing an audit by the Financial Services Agency, it was learned Tuesday.

A case will be built against former Chairman Takeshi Kimura and other former senior bank executives on suspicion of violating the Banking Law, informed sources said.

The Metropolitan Police Department has concluded that when the agency conducted inspections of the bank from June 2009 to March over suspected illegal deals, the bank systematically deleted several hundred e-mails under the instruction and approval of Kimura, the sources said.

The MPD is expected to bring charges of criminal liability against Kimura, who once served as an adviser to the FSA under Heizo Takenaka, when Takenaka was state minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy during the administration of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

According to investigative sources, Kimura and other executives obstructed the FSA audit by intentionally deleting hundreds of e-mails subject to inspection.

The bank is believed to have received a commission of 45.7 percent, much higher than the legal limit of 29.2 percent, when it purchased claims from leading lender SFCG Co., now under bankruptcy proceedings. The FSA said it strongly suspects the bank violated the Investment Deposit and Interest Rate Law, adding that details about the transactions were probably contained in the deleted e-mails.

The MPD searched the bank's head office and the offices of some of its clients on June 11, following the filing of criminal charges by the FSA earlier in the day. The MPD has been investigating any possible involvement by Kimura in the suspected obstruction of the audit by analyzing documents seized during the search.

On May 27, the FSA ordered the bank to suspend some of its operations for about four months, including the extension of loans of 100 million yen or more, and the soliciting of loans and deposits.

Kimura, a former Bank of Japan official, established the bank together with members of the Junior Chamber International Tokyo in April 2004. He became president in January 2005 and chairman in June that year, but resigned as chairman in May this year to take responsibility for the bank's deteriorating business performance.

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