An individual shareholder has asked Mizuho Financial Group Inc. to file a lawsuit against 19 former and current executives for ¥1.17 billion in damages over its banking unit’s shady transactions with underworld groups, it was learned Saturday.
The shareholder, a 40-year-old Osaka resident, sent a letter to an auditor of Mizuho Financial Group on Friday demanding that the suit be filed, according to a lawyer representing him.
The man warned that he may bring a lawsuit on behalf of other shareholders if the auditor does not meet his request within 60 days. The shareholder, whose name was not disclosed, claims that Mizuho Financial Group should be held responsible for neglecting to supervise Mizuho Bank appropriately.
It is the first shareholder move to try to hold the mega-bank’s senior management accountable since the revalation that Mizuho Bank has extended loans to yakuza and other “antisocial” elements through affiliated nonbank lender Orient Corp., and left the issue unattended for more than two years.
The 19 executives targeted by the shareholder served on the board of Mizuho Financial Group after July 2010, when then-Mizuho Bank President Satoru Nishibori is said to have known about the problem.
They include Mizuho Financial Group President Yasuhiro Sato, who concurrently serves as Mizuho Bank president, and group Chairman Takashi Tsukamoto, who is also the bank’s chairman.
The compensation sought includes ¥1 billion in damages caused to the Mizuho group by the pasting its credibility has taken and another ¥50 million in costs related to setting up an independent panel to investigate the illicit loans.
An official of the group declined to comment on the matter, and wouldn’t confirm whether it’s received notice of a lawsuit.