May 20, 2022
SMBC Nikko

SMBC Nikko Securities has been indicted and six company officials have been charged with alleged market manipulation, amongst them one of the company’s vice presidents.

The Japanese firm confirmed the charges in a statement, stopping short of any admission of guilt but acknowledging “faults” in its management structure.

The company themselves declined to name the charged officials, but The Nikkei reports that Vice President Toshihiro Sato is the most prominent company figure to be charged, along with five others.

Head of equity Trevor Hill and deputy head of equity Alexandre Avakiants were reportedly charged along with Sato, as well as fellow officials Makoto Yamada, Teruya Sugino, and Shinichiro Okazaki. All five are understood to have worked under Sato.

The indictment filed against the officials alleges that they were involved in “block offers”, selling shares privately outside of usual trading hours, using proprietary trading to push up prices enabling the deals to go through.

Prosecutors allege that such practices have been systemic within SMBC Nikko, explaining their decision to indict the company as a whole along with the officials.

Japan’s Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission will now investigate the allegations against the firm, with the country’s Financial Services Agency to set any penalties and remedial measures should the charges be proven.

The news follows on from the March 4th arrest of four SMBC Nikko employees relating to the same investigation. All four have denied any wrongdoing and claim their actions were within the scope of what is permissible by law.