• Kyodo

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A company president was arrested Thursday on suspicion of manipulating the stock market by buying and selling a large volume of shares in major housing material manufacturer Aica Kogyo Co. from December 1999 to January 2000, prosecutors said.

Yoshikazu Murase, 68, president of Marubun fisheries company in Nagoya’s Atsuta Ward, is suspected of boosting the stock’s price from 606 yen to 679 yen in a bid to profit in some way after trading a large volume of Aica Kogyo shares through two securities companies, the prosecutors said.

Prosecutors at the Nagoya District Public Prosecutor’s Office and officials at the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission searched Murase’s home and other locations in connection with the case.

Murase allegedly conducted illegal transactions such as purchasing some 540,000 shares in Aica Kogyo at a high price while at the same time selling some 210,000 shares in the company during the period, the prosecutors said.

Aica Kogyo’s share price had been hovering around the 500 yen level in April and May 1999 before rising sharply in mid-June that year, hitting 815 yen June 30. But the share price fell to around 650 yen a month later. These erratic movements led financial authorities to begin investigating the stock transactions.

Founded in 1936, Aica Kogyo is involved in chemicals, laminated sheets, housing fixtures and materials, and electronic components.

The company, listed on the first sections of both the Tokyo and Nagoya stock exchanges, posted 69.1 billion yen in sales in the business year ended in March 2000.

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