Japanese fund manager 'in trouble'

24-08-2006

A well-known Japanese fund manager has admitted to illegal insider trading and is expecting to be arrested later today.

Yoshiaki Murakami, whose shareholder activism has shaken up the Japanese financial world in recent years, told reporters in a hastily arranged press conference earlier today that he had engaged in potentially law-breaking transactions.

Under existing Japanese legislation governing securities and exchanges Mr Murakami could face several years in prison for his activities concerning stock in a Japanese media firm.

"I didn't act with criminal intentions but the fact that I had heard about it constitutes [a crime]," the Bloomberg news agency reported him as saying at the press conference.

"Now it's almost no doubt that I will be indicted."

Mr Murakami is the latest casualty in a long-running scandal centring around corruption at the head of Livedoor, an internet firm whose executives are currently being tried in Tokyo for falsifying accounts.

The celebrity fund manager told reporters he had inside information ahead of a Livedoor deal involving stock in Nippon Broadcasting. He said he had resigned as head of his fund, MAC Asset Management, with immediate effect.

A prosecuting committee had forced the 47-year-old to disclose his allegedly dubious actions under oath – something he told reporters he had decided to "meekly admit".

"I consider myself a pro among pros, but I had to consider the outside possibility that I had made a mistake," he said.


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