Prosecutors on Friday searched UFJ Bank’s Tokyo headquarters and the homes of some of its former executives in connection with the bank’s alleged obstruction of inspections by the Financial Services Agency last fall.
The FSA filed a criminal complaint against the bank and three of its former executives Thursday over the alleged obstruction with the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Among the places searched was the home of former UFJ Bank Vice President Kazuyoshi Okazaki, although he has not had a criminal complaint filed against him.
Investigative sources said prosecutors would also question the former executives named in the complaint, including Sen Hayakawa, 55, a former executive director at the bank.
Prosecutors began their search around 9:30 a.m., entering the bank’s Tokyo headquarters through an underground entrance to avoid reporters and camera crews outside the building’s main entrance. The last time a bank was searched for allegedly trying to evade financial inspections was in 1999, when the then Credit Suisse Financial Products, now Credit Suisse First Boston, faced such allegations.
The FSA said UFJ Bank staff concealed piles of documents detailing the financial health of big borrowers ahead of an FSA inspection.
When the financial regulator inspected the bank last October, its inspectors found the financial documents — packed in about 100 cardboard boxes — stashed in a vacant room of the bank’s Tokyo headquarters.
Immediately after their discovery, a bank employee rushed in and tore up some of documents in the presence of the FSA inspectors, the FSA said. This violation of the Banking Law was intended to make the amount of the bank’s outstanding bad loans look smaller than it really was, the FSA said. The nonperforming loans concealed by the bank reportedly totaled 270 billion yen.
UFJ Bank, the core banking unit of UFJ Holdings Inc., also tampered with the minutes of executive meetings and materials indicating that there were serious worries about the financial standing of major borrowers, the FSA said.
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