SMBC Nikko Employees Denied Charges before Arrest

Society

Tokyo, March 5 (Jiji Press)--Employees at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. arrested on suspicion of manipulating stock prices had denied the charges against them before being arrested Friday, sources familiar with the matter said Saturday.

Trevor Hill, 51-year-old senior managing executive officer and head of the company's equity department, and others had claimed that they were engaged in "legitimate operations," according to the sources.

The three other arrested SMBC Nikko employees are Alexandre Avakiants, 44-year-old deputy chief of the firm's equity department, Makoto Yamada, 44, a section head, and Shinichiro Okazaki, 56, chief of another section.

The special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office suspects that prices for stocks of five publicly traded companies were manipulated in relation to block trading, in which a securities company buys shares in off-hours trading and sells them to investors outside the market.

If stock prices drop greatly, block trading would fall through. The four allegedly placed a large amount of buy orders to underpin the five firms' share prices and make block trading deals successful, in violation of the financial instruments and exchange law.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press