Japan mob-linked bank faces more punitive action: Report

Japan mob-linked bank faces more punitive action: Report

TOKYO - Japan's financial watchdog will order Mizuho, one of the country's biggest banks, to suspend part of its loan business as additional punishment for its links to organised crime, reports said Wednesday.

The order, expected to be issued by the Financial Services Agency (FSA) on Thursday, will stop Mizuho Bank from extending new loans through its affiliated credit company for one month, the Jiji and Kyodo news agencies said.

The agency will also issue business improvement orders to Mizuho's parent firm the Mizuho Financial Group, the reports said.

The group has been under fire since September when it was found to have processed some 230 loans worth about US$2 million (S$2.53 million) for the country's notorious yakuza crime syndicates, which are involved in activities ranging from prostitution and drugs to extortion and white-collar crime.

In late September the FSA ordered Mizuho Bank to improve operations after it was found to have taken "no substantial steps" to sever the Yakuza links for two years after they were discovered.

The FSA decided to take additional punitive action against the group for failing to prevent the bank from submitting a false report on the issue to the agency, Kyodo said.

Mizuho Bank had originally said its top management had been unaware of the Yakuza links. But it later admitted that its current and former presidents were in a position to know of the issue.

In late October the bank submitted a report compiled by a third-party panel probing the issue, which said it found no evidence of a cover-up of the scandal.

But the agency examined the claim in November through on-site inspections of Mizuho Bank and Mizuho Financial Group, the reports said.

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