Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group, one of the country’s top financial institutions, declined a “transparency” award it was set to receive after government authorities had recently admonished them for engaging in multiple transactions that involved hundred millions of yen with “anti-social” entities, which is a common term for Japan’s yakuza organizations.
Mizuho Bank, one of Japan’s “superbanks” and the country’s third-largest financial institution, has been under public scrutiny since it has come to light that it had processed around 230 transactions involving around 200 million yen (around US$2 million) for Japan’s traditional mob. Yearly, a group of securities analysts would select a banking institution for information transparency and selected Mizuho Financial Group for this year, saying “the company was praised for its attitude for proactively disclosing information that may not necessarily benefit the firm or even about the company’s weak points”. Because of the current issues surrounding the bank, Mizuho FG declined the honor, as revealed by the Securities Analysts Association of Japan on Monday as it released the annual report.
Mizuho Bank President Yasuhiro Sato said on Tuesday that former company president Satoru Nishibori had been aware of the bank lending to organized crime groups since July 2010. Appearing in a press conference for the first time since news of the scandal broke out, Sato revealed that Nishibori received a report of the illicit transactions in December 2010 and it was clear that the bank knew of the issue. Sato’s announcement reverses the bank’s prior explanation that reports over the illicit transactions were made only to executive officers in charge of legal compliance. Japan’s Financial Services Agency had pointed out to the bank last week that “no substantial steps” had been taken in dealing with the issue after it was first discovered two years ago. The FSA also pointed to “serious problems” with Mizuho’s compliance monitoring.
[via Global Post]
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