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High court gives suspended sentence to former Yamaichi chief.

TOKYO, Oct. 25 Kyodo

The Tokyo High Court on Thursday rejected a lower court ruling sentencing Atsuo Miki, a former president of the now-defunct Yamaichi Securities Co., to 30 months in jail with no suspension for business misconduct, and instead handed down a three-year jail term suspended for five years.

Presiding Judge Yoshimasa Kawabe said of Miki, 66, ''His criminal acts did not derive from desire to seek personal gains'' and ''he has sincerely shown remorse'' by using all his assets to pay damages in a negotiated settlement reached in March this year with the receivers of Yamaichi.

According to the ruling, Miki and former chairman Tsugio Yukihira, 70, arranged to submit false financial statements over three fiscal years through March 1997 to hide losses of between 233.1 billion yen and 271.8 billion yen at Yamaichi.

The two then had the Tokyo-based brokerage pay stockholders 6 billion yen in dividends during fiscal 1997 despite losses the company racked up during the period.

These acts were judged to be a false reporting of financial statements and a violation of the Securities and Exchange Law. The illegal dividend payments were deemed to infringe on the Commercial Code.

Miki was also convicted of providing 107 million yen in 1994 and 1995 to Ryuichi Koike, a ''sokaiya'' corporate racketeer, in violation of the Commercial Code.

He was also found guilty for arranging payments of 310 million yen to Showa Leasing Co. to cover losses the leasing company suffered, an act which violated a provision under the Securities and Exchange Law banning investment houses from covering client losses.

In March 2000, the Tokyo District Court sentenced both Miki and Yukihira to 30 months in jail. But Yukihira was given a suspended sentence and did not contest the ruling. Miki appealed the decision.

Yamaichi, used to be called one of the nation's ''Big Four'' securities houses, collapsed in November 1997 and was declared bankrupt on June 2, 1999.

Miki and Yukihira were also targeted in a damages suit for their responsibility in causing financial damages that led to Yamaichi's devastating collapse, as a result of authorizing payments to the sokaiya and client loss compensation.

The suit was filed by former Yamaichi shareholders, which were later taken over by the receivers of collapsed Yamaichi. Miki reached a negotiated settlement in March this year, followed by Yukihira in June.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Oct 29, 2001
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