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Toshiba Corp. said Friday that a subsidiary booked fictitious sales of ¥43.5 billion in 26 transactions recorded only on paper.

The scandal may again throw Toshiba into a crisis similar to its massive accounting fraud in 2015.

The subsidiary in question is Toshiba IT-Services Corp. based in Kawasaki.

Nine companies including Toshiba IT-Services were found to have been involved in “round-tripping transactions” that did not involve any commercial goods or end users, according to information mainly from a report about an in-house survey involving lawyers and certified accountants.

The fictitious transactions related to sales of information technology equipment, such as personal computers, were booked between November 2015 and July 2019, said the report, which was disclosed by Toshiba.

It has been found that Net One Systems Co. and NS Solutions Corp., both listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s first section, were involved. NS Solutions is a subsidiary of Nippon Steel Corp.

The fictitious transactions are believed to have been masterminded by a former sales manager at Net One who received help with the paperwork from Toshiba IT-Services officials.

But Toshiba said it “confirmed there was no evidence” that any employees of Toshiba IT-Services or a manager of the subsidiary directly in charge of the transactions initiated the fictitious deals.

The subsidiary was involved “without realizing that the transactions were illusory or circular,” Toshiba said.

In the troubled conglomerate’s 2015 accounting fraud, Toshiba padded profits by more than ¥200 billion. It has since taken steps to improve its governance systems.

“We take seriously our failure to recognize the problem until we received information from an outside party,” Corporate Executive Vice President Masayasu Toyohara said.

Toshiba will introduce a system to analyze transactions to detect any irregularities speedily, he said.

After the accounting fraud emerged, Toshiba fell into negative net worth in the year ended March 2017 due to massive losses on its U.S. nuclear power plant business.

The developments led to Toshiba’s demotion to the second section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, saving the company from being delisted.

Toshiba hopes to return to the prestigious first section soon, but the new scandal may negatively affect the TSE’s future screenings of the company.

“We’ll file an application as soon as preparations are made,” Toyohara said of Toshiba’s plan to return to the first section.

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