Officials at Mizuho Financial Group, Japan’s second-biggest bank, admitted top management knew at least three years ago about loans to criminal groups, highlighting the entrenched position of organised crime in the Japanese business world.
Bowing deeply for the cameras in the second such ritual of contrition in less than a week, top Mizuho officials reversed their previous position that knowledge of the loans had extended only to compliance officers.
Mizuho president Yasuhiro Sato said on Tuesday that an internal probe this week showed former president Satoru Nishibori was made aware of the loans in 2010. Nishibori served as president from 2009 to 2011 and is now an adviser to the bank. He was not made available by Mizuho to comment.
“We lacked enough awareness about the matter of anti-social forces,” Sato said, using a common euphemism for organised crime. “We have to criticise ourselves for that.” The bank says it does not yet know when the loans were extended. Sato said he learned about the loans in March this year. Mizuho set up an independent panel of outside lawyers on Tuesday.