Nomura management involved in payoffs: Ujiie

The entire management of Nomura Securities Co. was involved in dubious connections with a “sokaiya” corporate extortionist, Junichi Ujiie, president of the brokerage, indirectly admitted May 30. “If the arrest of (former Nomura President Hideo Sakamaki) is taken as the involvement of the entire company in the case, I cannot deny it,” Ujiie told a hastily arranged news conference.

Since the scandal broke earlier this year, Nomura has maintained that only the few executives arrested over the payoffs to the sokaiya were involved. “(The arrest) is very regrettable and we take it as a grave matter,” Ujiie said.

Sakamaki will step down as an adviser, a position he has held since he quit as president in March over the scandal, Ujiie said. The brokerage said later it will withhold the payment of retirement packages to Sakamaki and other former directors involved.

Ujiie said no decision has been made on whether former Chairman Setsuya Tabuchi and former President Yoshihisa Tabuchi, who also serve as advisers, will step down from their posts. The two were chairman and president when Nomura allegedly began illegal stock transactions with sokaiya Ryuichi Koike in 1989. Ujiie also said the company has held several section and executive meetings to establish clear rules to avoid a recurrence of payoffs to sokaiya.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Hiroshi Mitsuzuka said he has ordered the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission to widen the investigation into the scandal. The Finance Ministry will take “strict action against Nomura after receiving the commission’s advice,” he told a regular news conference. Mitsuzuka expressed deep concern over the arrest of Sakamaki, saying, “I cannot find any words to describe it.”