The Tokyo District Court decided Tuesday to hold pretrial proceedings on the founder of Japan’s best-known investment fund, Yoshiaki Murakami, who has been charged with insider trading, according to sources.

The proceedings, introduced as part of the lay-judge system that will begin in May 2009 to speed up trials, narrows down the points of argument that will be presented during the trial.

MAC Asset Management Inc., an investment consulting firm of the Murakami fund, which also has been charged with insider trading, will likewise get pretrial proceedings.

While nothing in the law says that the meetings must be held behind closed doors, the proceedings will not be open to the public.

Murakami’s first pretrial session with a panel of judges presided over by Judge Kunihiko Koma will be Oct. 16, the sources said.

His defense counsel asked for the pretrial proceedings Friday. They said Murakami intends to plead not guilty despite having admitted to the charges when he was indicted in June. The 47-year-old Murakami has been out on bail since he was charged.

According to the indictment, Murakami acquired about 1.93 million Nippon Broadcasting System Inc. shares between Nov. 9, 2004, and Jan. 26, 2005, for some 9.95 billion yen after being tipped off Nov. 8, 2004, by Livedoor Co. that it would try to buy a stake of 5 percent or greater in the radio company.

When he was indicted, investigators said Murakami had admitted to most of the charges.

The former bureaucrat now intends to testify in court that he obtained the information in late January 2005, when Livedoor formally decided to buy into the radio firm, according to the sources.

The Securities and Exchange Law bars investors from taking advantage of insider information, which includes knowing that a person or firm will acquire a significant stake in a firm before the information is made public.

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