Despite an external panel investigation clearing Mizuho Financial Group of covering up loans to members of organized crime, the megabank’s chairman Takashi Tsukamoto has resigned together with two other top executives. Its president, Yasuhiro Sato, will remain in his position, but will give up six months of his salary as a sign of contrition for the loan scandal that has enveloped the company.
The panel has concluded that Mizuho was lax in cleaning up the more than 200 million yen (approx. US$2 million) in loans that they gave to clients that were part of “anti-social forces”, the legal term for members of yakuza organizations, or criminal gangs. Even though they failed to do their part in helping reducing and preventing theses mob-related loans, the panel also said there was no deliberate cover-up from the bank based on their investigation. The panel was led by ex-judge Hideki Nakagome who also headed the panel that took on the accounting fraud case of camera-maker Olympus.
Sato and other executives faced the media, and with heads bowed, as is the custom in corporate Japan, apologized for the company’s failures. Aside from the chairman’s resignation, which the company initially denied, their top compliance officer and its risk management director will also be leaving by November 1. Dozens of other employees will also be taking salary cuts for their part in the issue. Sato said, “We caused a great deal of trouble and I want to express my deepest apologies.” He also said that while some may say the penalties and consequences were too weak, that is the company’s decision based on their internal investigation. They have also presented to the Financial Services Agency their plans for an overhaul of their lending business and system.
[ via ABC News ]