Ex-SMBC Nikko Officials Plead Not Guilty over Market Deceit

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The logo of SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Five former senior employees of SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. pleaded not guilty to stock price manipulation at the first hearing of their trial at the Tokyo District Court on Wednesday.

The five, who were indicted for their alleged involvement in underpinning stock prices in violation of the financial instruments and exchange law, denied that they were trying to stabilize stock prices.

They are Makoto Yamada, 45, former head of the company’s equity trading division; 60-year-old former Deputy President Toshihiro Sato; 52-year-old former Senior Managing Executive Officer Trevor Hill; Alexandre Avakiants, a 45-year-old former executive officer; and Shinichiro Okazaki, 57, who headed another division.

Yamada is suspected of attempting to stabilize the stock market by buying large amounts of 10 stock issues through so-called block offer trades, in which brokerage houses buy large amounts of shares from major shareholders and sell them to individual investors in off-hours trading, between 2019 and 2021.